We help you find options to stop wage garnishment.
We also help you understand your rights and offer ways to protect yourself from unlawful or unusually harsh wage garnishment.
Contact the office of a Cleveland wage garnishment attorney for a free consultation. Call Luftman, Heck & Associates at (216) 586-6600 or use our convenient contact form, and we will reach out to you.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
Know your rights under federal and Ohio law.
Wage garnishment requires your employer to withhold money from your paycheck and send it directly to repay a debt you owe. Both federal and Ohio state laws limit who may withhold your wages and how much they may remove.
What Leads to Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is typically the last effort for a creditor to collect what you owe them. Creditors give plenty of warnings about the consequences of ignoring your debt. They prefer to work something out rather than go through the cost and time of legal action.
When you ignore repeated phone calls, emails, and letters from collection agencies, the final option for a creditor is seeking wage garnishment.
Employers must comply with a legal wage garnishment request or face penalties themselves.
Other Instances for Wage Garnishment
Most creditors may only garnish your wages when they have a court-ordered judgment. There are exceptions, however.
Your employer may garnish your wages without a collection lawsuit or sentence when you owe money for:
- Unpaid income taxes (state and federal)
- Court-ordered child support
- Spousal support
- Defaulted student loans
How Much Can Be Deducted from Your Wages?
According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2716, creditors must limit withholding to whichever is less
- 25 % of disposable earnings
- Disposable earnings less 30 times the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour or $217.50 per week
If your disposable earnings are more than $217.50 per week but less than $290, creditors may be entitled to additional withholding.
Can You Be Fired for Wage Garnishment?
Under the Department of Labor’s Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) and specifically Title III of this Act, employers cannot fire someone for garnished wages by a single creditor in one year. Title III also limits the number of withheld earnings in any one week for specific types of debts.
However, Title III does not protect you from discharge if your earnings are garnished a second time or for subsequent debt.
What Type of Income Is Exempt from Wage Garnishment?
There are some forms of income that are usually exempt from wage garnishment, including:
Examples of income exempt from being garnished:
- Government benefits
- Unemployment insurance
- Child support and alimony
- Retirement benefits
Creditors cannot garnish student aid, veterans’ benefits, and Social Security.
Creditors don’t have access to supplemental income due to a job loss.
Child & Spousal Support
Creditors cannot garnish money from court-ordered benefits used to take care of a child or spouse.
Most current and future retirement funds are exempt from wage garnishment.
How Can You Stop Wage Garnishment?
Let us help you find the best solution to stop your wage garnishment.
Bankruptcy stops wage garnishment and other collection activity. A bankruptcy attorney can advise you about the different types of bankruptcy that best suit your situation.
When you declare bankruptcy, the court issues an automatic stay that stops all collections, including wage garnishments. A creditor can petition the court to lift the automatic stay. Creditors cannot continue to pressure you for payment while the stay is valid.
They also cannot resume garnishing your wages for debts discharged by the court when you file bankruptcy.
How to Ensure Wage Garnishment Stops With Bankruptcy
Declaring bankruptcy is a complex process. A Cleveland bankruptcy attorney can make sure that you navigate this process correctly without additional financial burden.
After receiving an automatic stay to stop collection activity, we can notify your employer’s billing or payroll department. It is also good to inform the local sheriff’s office because they often handle wage garnishments and other collection activities.
Stop Wage Garnishment Without Bankruptcy
A wage garnishment attorney with Luftman, Heck & Associates assists in finding a resolution to wage garnishment without bankruptcy.
Establish a Trusteeship
Under Ohio law, you may request that the court appoint a trustee to distribute payment to your creditors. Instead of paying creditors directly, the trustee makes payments on your behalf. A creditor cannot garnish your wages when you are in a trusteeship.
Object to Underlying Judgement
A Cleveland wage garnishment lawyer might find a legal basis to dispute the judgment that led to garnishment. If we successfully remove the underlying court order, we can stop the wage garnishment.
Object to Excessive Garnishment
Creditors may not exceed the garnishment limits established by federal and state law. When they try to collect more or attempt to draw funds directly from your checking account, it is time to call a Cleveland wage garnishment attorney.
Our bankruptcy attorneys can advise you on preventative measures to avoid wage garnishment. We can work out a debt settlement with your creditors to help you pay what you owe on mutually agreeable terms.
Why Call a Wage Garnishment Attorney?
Get debt relief with the help of a professional.
Wage garnishment puts a tremendous strain on your financial and emotional well-being. Any paycheck deductions not required by law, such as rent, utilities, and groceries, are not subtracted from your gross earnings. Child support garnishments can be as much as 50% of your take-home pay. You could find yourself in severe financial trouble from the burden of wage garnishments.
A wage garnishment lawyer may be able to find a way out of this stressful situation and get you back on your feet again.
- Evaluate your financial situation to determine if the garnishment is legal and proper.
- Determine if your creditors are taking more than the legal amount.
- Negotiate with your creditors to reduce what you owe.
- Assess your case to see if bankruptcy is an option, automatically halting all collection activity, including wage garnishment.
Luftman, Heck & Associates offer free case evaluations so that you can make an informed decision about your financial future.
Call a Cleveland Wage Garnishment Lawyer Today
There are several options to stop wage garnishment. A Cleveland wage garnishment attorney with Luftman, Heck & Associates can show you how. Call (216) 586-6600 or use our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation.