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Stop Wage Garnishment in Ohio

Dena Standley | June 13, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: When a creditor decides to garnish your wages, chances are they won’t stop until they get their money in full. Luckily, Ohio laws prevent a certain amount from being garnished and allow you to fight the garnishment order. Plus, there are ways to avoid wage garnishment in the first place, like settling your debts with the help of SoloSettle.

In Ohio, consumers with long-standing unpaid debts often face wage garnishment—a legal process permitting creditors to collect money directly from your paycheck. Wage garnishment can result in significant financial hardship for individuals and families, leaving you with a reduced income to cover your living expenses.

However, if you face wage garnishment in Ohio, you can fight the garnishment order. Ohio law provides guidelines to help you stop or minimize wage garnishment and regain control of your finances. This article will discuss Ohio laws and examine ways to stop wage garnishment.

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Ohio wage garnishment laws

Ohio's wage garnishment law, governed by Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2716, describes the rules and regulations for creditors seeking to collect outstanding debts. Once you understand these laws, you can use them to stop wage garnishment. They include:

  • Maximum amount: Ohio law limits the maximum amount the creditor can garnish to 25% of your disposable earnings or the amount your disposable income exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage ($10.10 per hour).

  • Notice by the creditor: A debt collector is obligated to provide you with written notice of their intent to garnish, along with information about your rights and options (OH Rev Code § 2716.05).

  • Right to a hearing: You can ask for a hearing to challenge the garnishment and seek a reduction in the amount being garnished.

  • Exemptions: Ohio law provides exemptions from wage garnishment for Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, and workers' compensation.

  • Procedural requirements: Ohio law has provisions for the timing and duration of the garnishment and the responsibilities of employers in withholding and remitting the garnished wages (OH Rev Code § 2716.03).

Understanding these laws will help you know how to use the following methods to stop wage garnishment in Ohio.

Object to the wage garnishment

When you receive a notice of intent to garnish your wages, you can object and request a hearing to contest the garnishment. Objecting to wage garnishment in Ohio involves the following steps:

  1. File a written objection with the court that issued the garnishment notice within ten days of receiving the notice. Outline the reason for objection, such as the debt is not valid, the amount exceeds the legal limit, you qualify for an exemption, or present evidence that you are not responsible for the debt.

  2. Request a hearing to present your case before a judge. You can include the request in the written objection or file it separately.

  3. Present your evidence and arguments to support your objection to the garnishment in the hearing. You can provide documentation challenging the debt's validity or explaining violations by the creditor or employer.

  4. Wait for the court's decision which you may receive immediately or later in written form. If the court decides in your favor, they will reduce or dismiss the garnishment. If the decision favors the creditor, the garnishment will proceed as ordered.

Did you know you can avoid going to court before or after receiving a debt collection lawsuit letter that led to wage garnishment? You can do this by offering to settle; learn more by watching this video:

File a claim of exemption

It is your legal right in Ohio to file a claim of exemption to protect your income from being garnished to satisfy a debt. Here are some common circumstances where you may file a claim of exemption:

  • You are the head of the home, and most of your income supports your family members.
  • The creditor is asking for more than they should.
  • Your income falls beneath the federal poverty line.
  • Your income qualifies for public benefits exemptions such as Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, and veterans' benefits.

Let's take a look at an example.

Example: Ben is a construction worker injured on the job and receives workers' compensation benefits. He has a long-standing debt of $6,000 with Credit Bank, and they sent him a $730 garnishment order. When Ben calculated to confirm the quoted figure, he realized Credit Bank did not subtract the workers' compensation benefit. He filed a claim of exemption, attaching the supporting evidence. The court ruled in his favor and reduced the garnishment amount to $460.

File for bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is often considered after a debtor struggles to manage their debt for years with no success. Bankruptcy gives you relief from overwhelming debt but also harms your credit score. If this is the option you are willing to consider, then here are the steps to take:

  1. Determine the bankruptcy type to file. Chapter 7 involves liquidating assets to pay off debts and discharging the remaining ones, while Chapter 13 involves crafting a repayment plan that allows you to pay off debts over time.
  2. Complete a mandatory credit counseling course from an approved agency in Ohio—within 180 days prior to filing.
  3. Prepare and file a bankruptcy petition. Ensure the document includes information about your financial situation, such as income, expenses, debts, and assets.
  4. Attend the 341 meeting of creditors to discuss your financial situation with the bankruptcy trustee and creditors (they rarely attend).
  5. Complete a debtor education course and file the certificate of completion with the court.
  6. Receive discharge for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or complete repayment plan for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Ensure you follow the post-bankruptcy requirements, such as attending financial management courses, if required, and provide any requested documentation to the trustee or court.

Avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement

It may be frightening to approach the creditor for negotiation when your non-payment caused them to go through all the trouble to get their money. But, creditors are often willing to negotiate because the continued garnishment process is too involving, especially if you fight it.

Negotiating with the creditor entails asking them to settle for less than you owe. You do this by sending a debt settlement letter before or immediately after the garnishment order begins. In fact, debt settlement is a good way to avoid wage garnishment altogether.

Learn more from our guide on How to Settle a Debt in Ohio.

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