If I file a bankruptcy, will it cover a garnishment on a paycheck of someone who signed a promissory note on my behalf?

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If I file a bankruptcy, will it cover a garnishment on a paycheck of someone who signed a promissory note on my behalf?

Approximately 5 years ago I was in a bad auto accident and had no insurance. This I was unconscious at the scene and at the hospital they had my mother sign a financial responsibility note. I was 19 at the time and they told my mother they couldn’t do surgery without her signature. Now the plastic surgeon is suing the both of us. I am currently unemployed so my payments were not made and they are motioning for a garnishment on my mother’s paycheck. If I file now will it stop this garnishment?

Asked on July 1, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately your bankruptcy filing will have no bearing on your mother's financial obligations. When she signed the note she became responsible for the debt, in addition to you. So while your bankruptcy can discharge the debt insofar as you are concerned, your mother will remain liable. Possibly she can work out acceptable repayment arrangements with the creditor or, depending on the amount of the debt and her personal circumstances, she too can consider filing. Just so you know the maximum garnishment cannot typically exceed 25% of her disposable earnings (and in some states even less). 


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