Ohio Garnishment Laws — What They Say

Chloe Meltzer

November 11, 2021

Summary: Are you being sued for an old debt in Ohio? Worried your wages are about to be garnished? Learn all about Ohio's wage garnishment laws and what you can do about your situation.

If you are living in the state of Ohio and suffering from debt, you might eventually be sued by a debt collector. In this instance, they will take you to court and work to obtain a judgment against you. If you do not answer the summons to appear in court, then a default judgment will be granted, and the debt collector may be allowed to pursue wage garnishment.

Wage garnishment can also be called wage attachment or wage withholding and is when a creditor can take money directly out of your paycheck before it is paid out to you. Your employer is notified and it can not only be embarrassing but also frustrating to get paid less. Wage garnishment is governed by federal law, but also by a state limit.

Ohio only allows creditors to take 25% of your wages, but there are a few exceptions. For example, all creditors may not need to go to court when it comes to cases of child support or income taxes, and these can also exceed 25% of your wages.

Protect your wages from debt collectors by filing a response with SoloSuit.

When a creditor can garnish your wages

Wage garnishment is a court order that requires your employer to withhold funds from your paycheck. This money would go to the creditor to whom you owe money.

Contrary to what some might think, creditors, are not able to simply garnish your wages when you fall behind on payments. Instead, a collection lawsuit must be filed with the local court, and then they must win a judgment against you that states you lost your case, and that you are responsible.

There are a few exceptions to the rule of needing a judgment to garnish wages. In the state of Ohio these include the following:

  • Income taxes
  • Court-ordered child support
  • Defaulted student loans

There is a limit to how much of your wages can be garnished

The federal law sets limits to how much of your wages may be garnished each paycheck. In the state of Ohio, it is the same as federal law. The limit to how much of your wages may be garnished is either 25% of your disposable earnings, or less than 30 times the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour/$217.50 per week. An exception to this is if the disposable earnings are more than $217.50 per week but less than $290, where the creditor is entitled to any amount over $217.50.

Disposable earnings are considered the balances left over after taxes and mandatory deductions are taken out. Voluntary deductions are considered income put towards health and life insurance. These expenses do not reduce disposable earnings.

For example, if you make $1000 per month after taxes and mandatory deductions are taken off, then 25% of your disposable income would be $250. This means that $250 can be taken for garnishment. When it comes to disposable earnings less than 30 times the federal minimum wage, it would mean that this amount would be $782.50. Your employer is only able to send the amount that is less, which would be the first option, only $250 of your weekly pay.

Use SoloSuit to keep your wages from being garnished.

Exceptions to wage garnishment

As mentioned, if you owe child support, student loans, or taxes, then your wages can be garnished without ever being summoned to court. The rules that govern this type of wage garnishment are different as well.

  • Child support: Up to 50% of your disposable earnings can be garnished under federal law when it comes to child support for a spouse or a child. If it is not for a spouse or child, up to 60% of your earnings may be taken. They may take five percent more if you are paying support payments over 12 weeks in arrears.
  • Defaulted student loans: Administrative garnishment can be used up to 15% of your disposable income without a judgment.
  • Unpaid taxes: The government can deduct back taxes from your wages without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.

It is important to know that it may be somewhat of a pain for your employer to comply with wage garnishment orders. Despite this, legally, under Ohio law, you cannot be fired for one wage garnishment in 12 months. If you end up having two or more wage garnishment orders, then you can be let go.

Try to prevent another wage garnishment before it happens. Stay up to date on your bills, and pay child support, student loans, or unpaid taxes to avoid wage garnishment without a judgment.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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