Chapter 128 - What is That?
Chapter 128 is a Wisconsin statute that allows Wisconsin residents to repay their debts over time. During that repayment period you are protected from a wage garnishment or levy on your bank account (along with other rights and protections).
In a nutshell here is how it works: take your unpaid unsecured debt(s), file the court-approved case documents, and then pay your debts back in equal monthly payments over 36 equal monthly payments. You do not (generally) ever have to go to court or even attend any other meetings.
Do I Qualify to File a Chapter 128?
There are a few broad general limitations to be eligible to file a Chapter 128: 1) you need to be employed to file a Chapter 128; 2) you can't include certain debts owed to governmental entities (for example, unpaid federal taxes); 3) you can't secured debt (like a car payment) without your creditors consent. While there are limitations and exceptions to these rules, these cover the usual issues faced by consumers contemplating a Chapter 128 filing.
It is NOT a Bankruptcy
People often ask if a Chapter 128 is the same as a bankruptcy - it is NOT. In fact, it's not a form of bankruptcy or in any way related to a bankruptcy. It can't be reported to your credit as a bankruptcy, both during the pendency of the case or after you've successfully made all the payments. If you've completed a Chapter 128 and you have accounts that are reporting incorrectly (like a balance due, or a reference to a bankruptcy) you can read about Disputing Credit Reporting Information.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
No, you are not required to have a lawyer to file for a Chapter 128. Many people fill out the required court paperwork on their own. Others find it a bit overwhelming to navigate the court filings and process on their own; because completing the paperwork could cause your Chapter 128 to be rejected. If you're trying to decide if you should file on your own, schedule a free consultation and we'll see if we can point you in the right direction. If you do decide to retain a lawyer to file a Chapter 128 for you, most handle them for a reasonable flat fee cost.
Will it Stop a Wage Garnishment?
Yes, filing a Chapter 128 will stop a wage garnishment. Of course, this does require that the Chapter 128 documents be properly filed and properly list the company and/or lawyer that is garnishing your wages. There can be some delays while the creditor and your employer release the garnishment, so be sure to file a Chapter 128 as soon as possible.
Schedule a free consultation and explore your rights, options, and potential remedies. All cases and outcomes are different, but a free consultation will make sure you understand your legal rights under Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws. We provide representation in Chapter 128 filings throughout in Wisconsin, including Racine, Kenosha, Green Bay, Appleton, the Fox Valley, Milwaukee, West Allis, Waukesha, Walworth County, Dane County, Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Superior, Ashland, and anywhere in-between. We offer free online scheduling for appointments.