How Does Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Affect My Garnishment?

Garnishment is a legal process that allows creditors to deduct money from a debtor’s wages or a bank account. If you are facing severe financial difficulties, you may be able to prevent creditors from garnishing your wages by filing for bankruptcy.

But how does a bankruptcy affect your garnishment? Will you receive back money from the court when you file bankruptcy, and going bank how long? Will the trustee let you keep the money once you file? You will find the answers to these questions here in this article.

How a Bankruptcy Affect Garnishment?

After filing for bankruptcy, you will be protected from the creditors. The court will notify your creditors about the bankruptcy filing preventing them to collect any debt.

Your garnishment will be affected differently depending on the type of bankruptcy you file. Here are the ways in which your garnishment will be affected by a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Garnishment when Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The court imposes an automatic stay on your creditors after you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your creditors won’t be able to collect any debts from you. They will be ordered by the court to immediately stop any wage and bank account garnishment.

Garnishment when Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, all debt collection actions including garnishment must be stopped by creditors. The debts are reorganized in order to be paid over a period of three or more years. However, any remaining debts after the completion of the payment period will be discharged by the court.

You can also get bank money garnished by creditors in certain situations after filing a bankruptcy. While the specific rules differ in each state, generally, you can get back the money, if:

  • The debt is dischargeable, or exempted in the bankruptcy petition
  • Money was garnished within 3 months (90 days) of filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy
  • The amount taken was greater than $600

Other Things to Remember Regarding Garnishment and Bankruptcy

Keep in mind that it may take a few days to a few months before you can get back the garnished money. Also, you should remember that there are certain exemptions to this rule — most notably student loans and child support collections.

Furthermore, whether you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the Trustee has the legal right to claim the money. In most cases, the Trustee does not claim the garnished money that you get back unless the amount is greater than $2,000. But if the Trustee makes a claim, the amount will be used to pay back your creditors.

Lastly, you should remember that if your bankruptcy request is denied within a year of filing, an automatic stay will last for 30 days. The automatic stay won’t kick in when you file a bankruptcy for a third time during a year.

Contact a professional bankruptcy attorney to know more about how a bankruptcy will affect your garnishment. An experienced attorney will offer you qualified legal guidance based on your specific situation.


Attorney Eli Tamkin is a Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer.  He has been practicing law since 1989 and in Cleveland Ohio since 1994. Since then, he has dealt with a variety of legal issues, including bankruptcy, real estate, divorce, personal injury, and probate. Many times, answering questions on bankruptcy draws on knowledge of other legal areas as well. His experience in these other areas, as well as in bankruptcy enables him to address your particular needs and to offer you advice that is applicable to your situation.

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