The law in the District of Columbia regarding wage attachment is similar to the federal wage garnishment laws. The law limits the amount of each check that can be garnished to no more than 25 percent. Without getting a court order, most creditors are not allowed to garnish your wages. However, there are a few types of debts that creditors can garnish your wages for without a judge’s ruling.
Debts such as medical bills and credit card debts will not justify a wage garnishment order without the approval of a judge. In order to get this order, the creditor would have to sue you and get a judgement. However, unpaid income taxes, child support, or default student loans do not require a judgement for creditors to get a wage garnishment order.
If your wages are being garnished, or you think they will start to be garnished soon, then filing bankruptcy may make it stop. In some cases it might even be possible to get back some of the garnished wages.
Can an Automatic Stay Stop Wage Garnishment?
The automatic stay goes into effect immediately after filing bankruptcy and restricts most, if not all, collection and foreclosure actions, such as wage garnishment. The automatic stay is a strong fortress to stand behind as it takes quite a bit for a creditor to convince a judge to lift the stay. However, there are a few debts that will not be stopped by an automatic stay, such as student loan debts and child support.
After filing bankruptcy, the quickest way to make wage garnishment stop is to inform whoever is in charge of your payroll. Let them know that you have filed bankruptcy and that the wage garnishment should be halted. Typically, the sheriff’s department should also be informed of the bankruptcy as wage garnishment typically falls under the sheriff’s responsibilities.
Consult a bankruptcy attorney to learn about all of your options. An attorney can help to guide you to the best possible outcome.
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