Attorney Jon Ginter
Bankruptcy Stops Garnishment
Bankruptcy has a lot of benefits, but perhaps the most powerful one is that it stops garnishment of your paycheck. Under Ohio law creditors can garnish up to 25% of your take home pay, which usually makes your problems go from bad to worse because now you may be unable to pay ordinary living expenses such as rent, car payments and grocery expenses. If you are currently being garnished or about to be garnished then you really ought to consider bankruptcy because short of quitting your job or paying off your debt there is nothing else that is going to make that garnishment go away.
Fortunately, if you do file bankruptcy the garnishment is supposed to stop immediately. I say “supposed” because sometimes if you file your case immediately before you are garnished there is a communication problem and your employer accidentally garnishes your paycheck. Most employers require a few days’ notice in order to stop a garnishment and if you don’t get your case filed in time they have no way of stopping themselves from garnishment your paycheck. However, assuming the pay date occurs after the date you filed bankruptcy you are usually entitled to get that money back.
One thing to keep in mind is that for the bankruptcy to stop the garnishment you have to actually file bankruptcy. It is not enough that you came in for an initial consultation, paid me a
small amount of money, and learned that you qualified for bankruptcy. In order to stop the garnishment we have to actually file your bankruptcy case with the US Bankruptcy Court, which means you have to pay me in full, provide various documents, and give me time to prepare your bankruptcy petition. Please do not think that you can just show up with a few hundred dollars and no paperwork and stop your garnishment, because that is an unrealistic view of the process. There is a way to file bankruptcies on an emergency basis but it is very stressful and time consuming and it is also considered a bad practice that often results in mistakes, including dismissal of your bankruptcy case and the unexpected loss of property. Almost no bankruptcy attorney in the Cleveland area would even consider filing this type of bankruptcy because it is sloppy and can hurt the attorney's reputation with the bankruptcy court and bankruptcy judges. If you ask me to do something like that I will consider it, but I will not be very excited about the idea and am likely to ask you to pay substantially more than what I charge to file an ordinary bankruptcy case.