Los Angeles Wage Garnishment Lawyer Helping with Bankruptcy in California
For many California residents, making ends meet can be a struggle. Gasoline prices are at an all-time high. Inflation is increasing the cost of everything. Layoffs, reductions in the workforce, and unemployment also make paying bills an ongoing challenge. When individuals fall behind on their debt payments, whether for credit cards, medical expenses, or something else, their creditors may seek to garnish their wages to pay the debt. This can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Bankruptcy, however, stops or prevents wage garnishment.
Mark J. Markus is a Los Angeles area attorney who has helped individuals stop wage garnishments and eliminate their debts in bankruptcy cases since 1991. I provide personalized, one-on-one service to all my clients. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
California Attorney Preventing Creditors from Garnishing Wages During Bankruptcy
Wage garnishment occurs when money is withheld from your paycheck. This typically occurs after a creditor obtains a judgment in a lawsuit, and then gets a court order to garnish wages. Garnishments may continue until the entire obligation is paid in full. It goes without saying that for individuals who are already unable to pay their bills, taking money from their paycheck will likely make their financial situation even worse.
In California, creditors are limited to a total of twenty-five percent (25%) of net wages (after taxes, etc.). When multiple creditors seek to garnish wages, it just increases the length of time that the garnishments will last. And, interest continues to accrue on the unpaid balance of the debts. This reduced take home pay due to the garnishment can cause the debt problem to spiral.
Filing for bankruptcy prevents or stops this financial tailspin. Once a Petition for bankruptcy is filed, an automatic stay goes into place, preventing creditors from pursuing collection actions. This includes attempts to file a lawsuit, obtain judgments in court, or to enforce existing judgments. If an existing garnishment order is in place, the automatic stay renders it unenforceable and immediately stops any further garnishment. Certain obligations, including child support and alimony, are not subject to the automatic stay and garnishment orders to collect such amounts will remain in place.
If you have financial obligations that you cannot afford to pay, many, and possibly all, of these debts may be dischargeable in bankruptcy. Individuals who qualify, may file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California and eliminate debt in exchange for the liquidation of certain nonexempt assets. As stated above, initiating this process will stop wages from being garnished and prevent other creditors from taking similar collection actions. You are allowed to keep wages earned during the bankruptcy process, and after the debts are discharged in full at the end of the case. Higher wage earners may seek Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection if they are not eligible for Chapter 7 protection. The automatic stay also prevents wage garnishment in a Chapter 13 proceeding. A portion of the debts will be subject to a repayment plan, but outstanding balances may be discharged after the repayment period.
Financial hardship can be extremely stressful, especially when individuals are facing wage garnishment from creditors. Bankruptcy may be the only option for these residents to rebuild their financial future.
Mark J. Markus is a Los Angeles Area lawyer with over 30 years’ experience in bankruptcy cases involving wage garnishments and other creditor collection actions. Contact me today to learn your options and stop the debt spiral.
Los Angeles Attorney Filing Bankruptcy on Wage Garnishments When Needed
I am Mark J. Markus and I am an attorney that has advised and represented clients in bankruptcy cases to stop wage garnishments and other collection actions since 1991 in the Greater Los Angeles Area. I am a Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
I understand how difficult the decision is to file bankruptcy. My practice is structured to minimize surprises and problems in bankruptcy cases that often arise with other bankruptcy attorneys.
Open communication is a hallmark of my representation and I promptly respond to client questions. All work is done by me, a bankruptcy lawyer, in my Burbank, Los Angeles office. No paralegals or assistants.
Bankruptcy cases are only filed by our office after weighing all alternatives and analysis of the pros and cons of filing.
Our firm serves all cities and counties in California, including counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Riverside, Fresno, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Tulare, Contra Costa, Shasta, Marin, Alameda, Kern, and San Francisco and cities including Burbank, Glendale, Sylmar, Panorama City, Simi Valley, San Fernando Valley, Irvine, Santa Clarita, Oxnard, Huntington Beach, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Torrance, Agoura, Long Beach, San Fernando, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Anaheim, Hollywood, Riverside, San Bernardino, Lancaster, Palmdale, Pasadena, and many more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’S) About Wage Garnishment In California Bankruptcy
How Much Money Can Be Garnished from Wages in Los Angeles, California?
Creditors are limited to an aggregate of 25 percent (25%) of NET wages. This means 25% of your take home pay, after taxes and other withholdings are subtracted. If you have multiple creditors with judgments that are garnishing wages, it is a first come-first served scenario. The creditor with the first garnishment will take 25% until paid in full, and then the next creditor in line will start getting the 25%, and so on.
For those living paycheck to paycheck, this can be a significant problem. Bankruptcy options should be examined in any case where there is a wage garnishment involved. Even if you can afford the garnishment, a Chapter 13 case, where you do a partial repayment of debts, would be less expensive and more beneficial, than just allowing the wage garnishment to continue. This is in part because interest stops accruing in a bankruptcy case, whereas outside of bankruptcy you will be garnished 100% plus interest.
How Do You Get a Wage Garnishment in California?
In most cases, to get a wage garnishment, a creditor must first file a lawsuit on a debt, and obtain a court judgment. Once the judgment is obtained (either by default if you do not respond to the lawsuit, or after a trial), the court can order various collection remedies. This includes an order for wage garnishment, which is sent to the employer(s) of the judgment debtor.
Who Collects the Wage Garnishment Money?
It is typically the Sheriff’s office for the City in which the garnishment takes place, who receives and disburses the wage garnishment funds.