Wage garnishment refund - Chapter 7

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I filed BK chapter 7 as pro se and had my Meeting with Creditors today. 

Trustee told me that I might be able to claim a refund of  wages garnished 90 days prior to the filing. 

Anyone know how to go about this?

Do I just ask the garnishor for the money or do I have to sue?



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First off, I am surprised that the trustee even said this to you as they are not allowed to give you any legal advice and this is the category that this falls under.

What I THINK the trustee is talking about is the look back period where if you paid some creditors and not others, the trustee can take back those payments to add to the estate to pay the creditors fairly so that no creditor is favored. However, this sounds like a no asset chapter 7 where there are no assets to pay any creditor and even if the trustee did the look back, the assets taken back would be exempt and hence, not taken by the trustee to pay creditors.

With that said, I would suggest that if you want to do this, you need to look up the applicable law and then send a letter to the attorney who represented the creditor who had the judgement and inform them of the law and that then need to refund the funds according to said law. If the creditor refuses, then you probably have to file a motion in the BK court to force the issue assuming you are correct in the law as the creditor will have a chance to argue that they do not have to refund the money garnished.

For my personal opinion (having done a BK pro se 12 years ago), it is hard enough getting through the BK correctly as a pro se filer and you would have to decide if the amount of funds that were garnished is worth the extra hassle. It probably is not and better to take the clean start and move on rather than try to deal with the case for a huge amount of time for a small gain. I personally would have moved on had I been in that situation. That is my opinion however and you have take it for what it is worth as I am not an attorney.

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Note if the creditor garnished any money from your paycheck AFTER you filed for BK, you have the right to demand those funds and I would fight to the death to get those back as I would be sure the law would be on my side at that point.

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Guest usctrojanalum

The trustee is correct, you can get those payments made 90 days prior to your bankruptcy back. However, that is an area of law that I do not know very well. It would do no harm to send attorney for judgment creditor a letter and see if the money is voluntarily returned. He or she is likely aware of the applicable statute and might just return to money to avoid FDCPA headaches. 

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