Wage Garnishment and Repossession

Honolulu Wage Garnishments and Repossessions

Hawaii Bankruptcy Firm Knowledgeable About Garnishments and Repossessions

Honolulu Bankruptcy Attorneys Will Protect Your Rights

Hawaii bankruptcy law will stop most creditor actions, but not necessarily all of them. Two major creditor actions faced by many debtors include garnishment and repossession, and bankruptcy handles each differently.


In Hawaii, garnishment obligates your employer to withhold a percentage of your pay and send it to a creditor as payment for a debt you owe. This procedure will continue each pay period until the debt is paid in full. Although Hawaiian law limits the percentage of your wages that a creditor can garnish to 25 percent of your disposable income, that doesn't help if you are barely getting by. Even a small loss of income can make a difference that can result in deep financial trouble.

If you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay takes into effect the moment your petition is filed, and garnishment is stopped. This continues throughout your bankruptcy case, and creditors are forbidden from trying to collect money from you. They are forbidden to call, file lawsuits against you, or use a judgment awarded in court to garnish your wages. If they've already started to garnish your wages, they must stop as soon as you file for bankruptcy.

Certain types of income are protected from garnishment, including Social Security, and IRA and 401(k) income, while garnishment for other types of debts are issued automatically, such as child support and back taxes – the IRS or state has the authority to garnish wages without court permission.


If you fail to make your loan payments on your car or other property, you risk having your property repossessed by your lender. The automatic stay is the most effective deterrent to creditor collection efforts and creditors are limited in their options to avoid the automatic stay. But in most chapter 7 cases, the only type of creditor who seeks to proceed with legal action after the bankruptcy filing is one who desires foreclosure or repossession on a debt that the petitioner has defaulted on.

In order to proceed with repossession, the secured creditor must obtain a bankruptcy court order authorizing it to do so. The order is obtained after a motion and hearing requesting that the creditor be given "relief from stay." For this motion to be granted, the creditor is required to prove that there is no equity in the property and the property is not necessary for effective bankruptcy reorganization. Relief from stay motions may be defended in several ways, but most go unopposed.

If you are facing wage garnishment or repossession, the experienced attorneys at the Law Firm of Jean Christensen LLLC will help protect your rights against creditors. Contact our firm online or call 808-521-1202 to schedule your free initial consultation at our Honolulu office today.