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Stop Wage Garnishment with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Wage garnishment. It sounds terrible, especially if it’s for something like a defaulted car or credit card payment. I would imagine that if you had the means to pay your bill that you would have done so, but now someone is making the decision for you regarding whether you can AND what you can afford to pay. It can be extremely frustrating to have money taken right out of your pay check when you legitimately need those funds for food, shelter or clothing.

Did you know that when you file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you can immediately stop wage garnishment? This may not apply to certain payments for taxes, child support or alimony, but it does apply to those default judgments for consumer debts.

When you file Bankruptcy, an Automatic Stay is put in place that protects the debtor (you) and all assets (your paycheck, vehicle, house etc.) from being taken by creditors, which can includes wage garnishments for consumer debts. As long as your Bankruptcy is granted and your debt is discharged, you will never again see that same, pesky wage garnishment appear on your paycheck.

If your wage garnishment is significant then filing for Bankruptcy as soon as possible can be critical to protecting your hard earned money. Protecting our clients is one of the most rewarding aspects of practicing Bankruptcy law.

This post is not intended to be legal advice since everyone’s situation is different. If you think you need our help to stop wage garnishments, call us today for a free consultation at 602-952-3232 or submit our online case review form.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Why does it sometimes seem like one can never get ahead?  Yet there are some people in this world that through sheer luck have built a rich and fancy-free life on nothing more than a pretty smile; spending their days lounging in the sun and buying Ferraris as birthday gifts for good friends.  For most of us, a Ferrari is a far away dream and a weekend vacation at the beach is an ultimate luxury.  The rest of our days are spent waking up, getting ready for work, driving in rush-hour traffic, working for 9 or more hours, driving again in rush-hour traffic, eating dinner, going to bed – rinse and repeat.  Throw a spouse and some kids in there and you’ve got a hectic, albeit beautiful and worthwhile, life to try to keep up with.

It sure isn’t easy for most of us and sometimes it’s just downright harder than we can handle to get the two ends of necessity and ability to meet.  This is just the hand we were dealt and the best we can do is use the tools at our fingertips to keep moving in the right direction.  After a difficult financial hand has been dealt, such as job loss, an illness, death or other life changing and costly event, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy becomes a tool that can offer you the tasty crumbs of financial freedom that the rich and famous enjoy so lavishly.  The ability to file for Bankruptcy is a gift that helps regular people get back ahead when they need it.

Who says we can’t be hard working or middle-class or blue-collar and be happy?  I don’t think anyone ever did.  I like to think that each of our lives has a purpose which will be revealed as the journey plays out.  Through my travels I have learned one of the best lessons in life is about humility and knowing when to ask for help.  Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is an opportunity to stand up to society and say “hey, I need a little help over here!”

If you are thinking about filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, please call our office for a free consultation at 602-952-3232 or submit our Online Case Review Form.

For more information on Bankruptcy in general, please visit our FAQ page.

Making Chapter 7 Bankruptcy More Affordable

If you’re thinking of hiring a Phoenix Bankruptcy Lawyer, you’re probably having some financial trouble.  It can be difficult to think about coming up with the money to pay an attorney to help relieve your financial stress.  This certainly seems like a quandary doesn’t it?

If you choose Clarke Law Offices as your bankruptcy attorney in Phoenix, we guarantee that our full service Chapter 7 bankruptcy fee is only $1,500 plus costs and a $306 filing fee, which is more affordable than many other firms in the Valley.  Plus, there may be other options to help make this more affordable if you are truly having difficulty finding the money.

One way we can get your bankruptcy cost down is to apply for a waiver of the $306 filing fee.  Your filing fee is almost 17% of the cost of your bankruptcy and this is a fairly significant cost, especially if money is tight and/or you are currently unemployed.  You must meet two requirements in order for a judge to waive your filing fee:

1)       Your income is less than 150% of the official poverty line; AND

2)       You are unable to pay the fee in installments

150%   of Poverty Guidelines for 2012

Family   Size

Annual   Income Must be Less Than
















Another option that most bankruptcy attorneys offer is a payment plan.   Your bankruptcy won’t be filed until you have made your payments in full, but you can start the process for little money down to make it easier on your pocket book.  At the time you retain CLO as your Arizona bankruptcy attorney with a down payment, you can begin directing all creditor calls to our office to give you some much needed peace from those late night creditor calls.

If you’re looking for more information about bankruptcy, check out our FAQs page, call us for a free consultation at 602-952-3232 or fill out our online Case Review Form 

Addiction Recovery and Bankruptcy

When you’re newly clean and sober it’s sometimes hard to imagine getting to a place where you’re happy, joyous, and free.  You take it one day at a time and do your best to get your feet firmly planted on solid ground.  After a few weeks and months, the promises of AA start coming true and hope emerges.  You’re working the steps and clearing the wreckage you caused when you were “out there.”

A lot of this wreckage involves personal relationships, but what about the financial wreckage you created?  A lot of people can relate to the stacks and stacks of unopened bills and collection notices that seem to multiply overnight when one loses their job or just can’t make ends meet.  This can happen to “normies” and addicts and alcoholics alike.  However, as a recovering addict or alcoholic it can feel so much more shameful and difficult to tackle because of how you got there and the rest of the mess you are trying to clean up along-side your financial disaster.

Let’s start with tackling the shame.  Spend enough time around fellow persons in recovery and you’ll probably have some deja-vu.  You’re not going to be the only addict or alcoholic that lost a job for coming in to work drunk or high or not showing up at all.  Nor would you be the only one that spent an entire paycheck at the liquor store, pharmacy or casino instead of paying the bills.  Alcoholics and addicts have a disease which shows itself in poor decision making and an absolute necessity to put the addiction first in every way possible.  Someone with another serious illness like cancer probably wouldn’t beat themselves up about financial wreckage the way an addict or alcoholic will.  So forgive yourself, remember that you’re not alone and financial disaster is often one of the symptoms of this deadly illness.

Next, take a deep breath and start opening your mail again.  This is a scary step but you need to know   the reality of the damage is if you’re going to devise a plan to fix it.  If you’re in a place where you’re making money again and can reasonably afford to make payments to your creditors each month, give them a call and see if you can work out a payment plan and even get your balances reduced.  Tell them your story and explain that you are clearing the wreckage and want to do what you can to pay what you owe.  You might be surprised at how receptive people are when you are honest, explain your situation and discuss what you can afford to pay.  Most of your creditors may be happy to hear from you.

For some, paying off these debts is simply not possible for a variety of reasons:  you aren’t back to work yet, you have little or no money left over each month after basic living expenses to pay down your debts, or your debt is so high compared to your ability to pay that it would take 100 years to get your debts paid off.  This is where filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy becomes an appropriate and available option.

The word Bankruptcy is as heart-wrenching as any of the expletive four-letter words in the English language, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.  With bankruptcy you  get a fresh start.  This option may allow you to keep your home, your car, furniture, work equipment and more.  Plus, when you file bankruptcy you will halt any law-suits filed against you by creditors which might otherwise lead to wage garnishment and put a stop to harassing calls from creditors.

When is a good time to file for bankruptcy?

When your financial life is otherwise back on track or nearly there.  You can only file bankruptcy every 7 years and if you make the same mistakes after filing, you do get penalized more for that.  So you want to make sure you’re back on track and able to pay your current liabilities and you keep your head above water from here on out.

You’re unemployed but looking for work.  In order to qualify to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona you have to pass what is called the Means Test.  The main part of the test is to see if your median household income falls below a certain level.  If you are unemployed you probably pass, so it’s a good time to file before you get that new job.

At Clarke Law Offices, we help people in recovery to file bankruptcy, so we’re sensitive to what you’re going through and familiar with the territory.  If you’re thinking of filing bankruptcy or just have questions, call us today at 602-952-3232 for a free consultation or fill out our online case-review form.

Can I File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona?

Can I file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona?  This question used to be a lot easier to answer.  There is one group of filers that know right away if the answer is “Yes.”  These are filers whose debts are primarily composed of non-consumer, or business, debts.  Consumer debts are those debts incurred for primarily personal or household expense and non-consumer debts are all other debts which do not fall under this definition (i.e. debts incurred to run a business).

If your debts are primarily consumer debts, then you will need to pass what is called the Means Test in order to be eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona.  There are four different parts to the means test, each giving you a separate option to pass for Chapter 7 eligibility:

Part 1: Is your annualized “current monthly income” less than the Arizona state median monthly income for a family of your size?

  • Your “current monthly income” is the average of your last six months’ actual income from all sources.
  • Multiply your “current monthly income” by 12 to get your annualized number.

If the number you reached, your annualized current monthly income, is lower than the numbers below, depending on your family size, then you pass the means test under the first part:

One Person

Two People

Three People

Four People

More than Four





Add an extra $7,500 per person

If your annualized current monthly income is higher than these numbers, not to worry, there are still three more parts to the means test that can qualify you.

Part Two: Is your current monthly income minus authorized monthly expenses less than $100?  This question can be somewhat difficult to answer because there are some technical rules that establish what an authorized expense is.  Naturally, monthly expenses include things such as food, clothing, health care, housing and utilities and much more.  However, there are National and Local standards that will limit the amount you can deduct as an expense in many of these categories.

Part Three: If your income minus expenses is more than $100 but less than $166 AND when that number is multiplied by 60, the product is less than 25% of the nonpriority unsecured debts that you owe, you pass the third part of the means test.

The best way to see if you pass the second or third part is to actually fill out the online bankruptcy means test form with your income and expenses and do the calculation.

Part Four: If you didn’t pass sections two or three above, but you have special circumstances that would support an additional downward adjustment to your income which would pass one of the above tests, you may still qualify.


If the instructions and details of Parts Two, Three and Four didn’t leave you cross-eyed, confused and ready to take an avoidance nap, we commend you.  If it did, well don’t be discouraged.  That’s why we’re here.  We have the experience and knowledge to take the information you give us, to ask for the information you might not think to give us, and figure out if you meet any of parts 1-4 of the means test.

We have had clients before that thought they didn’t qualify, but with our help and a thorough investigation they were able to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and get the relief they needed to start over.  That’s the difference an experienced attorney can make.

If you have bankruptcy questions, call us today at 602-952-3232 or fill out an online case-review form.

Call us today for a free consultation (602) 952-3232

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