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Do garnishments stop automatically after bankruptcy?

Your wages are being garnished because of what you owe, and you finally just decide to declare bankruptcy. You want to eliminate the debt, stop the garnishments and move forward with your life.

You file, and then the garnishments keep happening. You're furious, but your employer keeps taking the money out of your checks. Why is this?

The reality is that this is not an automatic process. No one calls your employer to tell the front office about your bankruptcy filing. No one calls the local sheriff, who originally met with your employer to set up the garnishments. You and your legal team have to do so. It's usually done by mail, email, fax or some combination of them all.

In the end, it's the sheriff who needs to go back to your employer and tell the company to stop garnishing your wages. This can take time. If the sheriff forgets to go, is too busy to go immediately or is not notified -- maybe you left a voicemail that he or she never got -- it can take some time for the garnishments to end.

Much of the time, though, people are just frustrated because they assumed the entire process was automated and would happen instantly, when it's not. This shows how important it is to really understand bankruptcy, looking into all of the rights and obligations that you have and all of the steps you must take. Things can and will work themselves out in time, but it's problematic to assume that anything is going to happen without your input.

Source: Bankrate, "Stop wage garnishment after bankruptcy?," Justin Harelik, accessed May 03, 2017

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