Many consumers file for bankruptcy after a creditors begin garnsihing their wages. Some file before the garnishment begins. In either case, it is important to provide notice of the bankruptcy filing to both the creditor and the filer's employer. This is because some employers will continue to garnish wages after a bankruptcy is filed and the automatic stay is in place.
When an employer receives a wage garnishment summons, it may automatically begin garnishing an employee's wages before the garnishment order is entered by the court. This is because employers don't want to violate a pending garnishment order. For bankruptcy practitioners, this means that an extra layer of notice is required when a client is facing a garnishment or is already in wage garnishment.
Notifying the employer of the bankruptcy filing and the automatic stay's effect on the wage garnishment should stop the garnishment activity. If the employer continues to garnish the filing employee's wages, the notice also turns a stay violation into a willful and knowing stay violation. This can be valuable if the client wishes to pursue and adversarial proceeding against the employer. Notifying the employer may also stop the garnishment faster than simply waiting for the creditor to inform the employer of the need to stop garnishing wages.
As is the case with many aspects of bankruptcy law, it is always best to provide notices before problems arise. If a violation of the automatic stay occurs after notice is provided, then the available remedies are more powerful. Notice early, notice often!