W is for Wage Garnishment

Letter W key on Underwood typewriterWage garnishment is a legal collection procedure that is not allowed in some states. Don’t you feel privileged to live in Ohio? Our lawmakers want to make this a safe and prosperous place for banks and collection lawyers. Never mind that you and I are the same fools who put them in office term after term. The three stooges called it government by the people, for the people, and against the people.

This is absolutely the number one reason people call a bankruptcy attorney. I already had one call on this issue from a friend today. A telephone collector does not have the power to garnish your wages.

The steps for a wage garnishment in Ohio are:

  • There must be a judgment from a court.
  • The judgment creditor must send a 15 day notice to your last known address. If you make a payment of 25% of your disposable income using the formula in this notice it will avoid the action.
  • 15 days after the notice they can file papers with the court.
  • The court will notify your employer to begin deduction funds from your pay check.
  • The federal Consumer Credit Protection Act limits the amount that can be garnished to 25% of your take home pay.
  • The funds are sent to the court for disposition.
  • The deduction continues each pay period until paid or ordered stopped.

Most clients first contact me when the employer hands them the garnishment paper ordering them to actually withhold the money. As you can see it can be a long, drawn out process. Ignore it and it won’t go away. When this eagle lands, it lands hard.

What can you do if your wage is garnished?

  • You will get a post card or a paper to object to the garnishment with the court. Send it in. You want to keep your money at the court for as long as possible. If it is there you might have a chance of getting it back.
  • You need to pull the trigger and file bankruptcy. If you filed before, then file chapter 13. A filing will stop a garnishment.
  • Have your attorney file a suggestion of bankruptcy with the court. Serve the attorney for the judgment creditor. He may then dismiss the garnishment altogether.
  • It you requested a garnishment hearing the suggestion of bankruptcy will normally be enough to convince the court to give money they are holding back to you.
  • Have your bankruptcy attorney fax your payroll department with a notice of case filing so that no more money is taken from your paycheck.

Wage garnishment in Ohio is not a procedure that happens over night. To be taken by surprise you need to methodically ignore a variety of official documents from your local court. Once it happens, it is never good.

Other attorneys playing the bankruptcy alphabet game:

  1. Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell
  2. Bay Area Bankruptcy Lawyer Cathy Moran
  3. Philadelphia Suburban Bankruptcy Lawyer, Chris Carr
  4. Jay Fleischman New York Bankruptcy Lawyer


photo by: stevendepolo

Bill Balena

Bill Balena is an attorney with offices in Westlake, Ohio. He represents consumers in Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Federal Student Loan Resolution. He is a former city prosecutor, and an accomplished OVI, DUI, DUS and criminal trial attorney.

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William Balena
Lorain and Cuyahoga County Bankruptcy Attorney

30400 Detroit Road
Suite 106
Westlake, OH 44145
(888) 633-5426 Toll Free
(866) 936-6113 Toll Free FAX
(440) 365-2000 Local Elyria Number

By appointment in Elyria

I am not your lawyer, and nothing in this site creates that relationship. Bankruptcy law requires that for me to be your bankruptcy lawyer you and I must have a written contract. So, unless we both agree in writing, you are not my client.

I am a debt relief agency. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.


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