Difference Between Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7

Chapter 13

Wage Garnishment


Creditor Harassment

Small Business Bankruptcy


Helping Ohio Clients Protect Their Income and Assets

Wage garnishment, the act of involuntarily deducting a portion of your employment income, salary, or other benefits to repay a debt, can seem conceptually terrifying and even cruel. It is a nasty tool employed by creditors who tend to refuse to empathize with the unfortunate situations debtors face. No one should have to choose between feeding their family and catching up on mounting debt, but with wage garnishment, the decision is often made for them, making the lives of debtors even harder.

Fortunately, wage garnishment is not an automatic or simple process to implement against you, and you will have ample notice if a creditor seeks to pursue it. This gives you an opportunity to take action to legally defend yourself through the services of a Cincinnati wage garnishment attorney. At The Southard Law Firm, L.L.C., our lead attorney, Arthur Southard, can assist you in combatting attempts to garnish your wages and take further steps to manage your debt once and for all.

Learn more about how we can help through a free, no-obligation phone consultation. Dial or contact us online.


How Wage Garnishment Works

In the state of Ohio, a creditor cannot simply decide to garnish your wages to repay an outstanding debt. There are a couple of steps they must follow, including:

  • Step 1: They must obtain a court order mandating your employer deduct a portion of your wages. To get the court order, the creditor must successfully sue you in court for failure to repay the debt. Note that this cannot be done for debts involving income taxes, child support, or student loans.
  • Step 2: With a court order in-hand, a creditor can mandate your employer garnish your wages. They cannot take the entirety of your paycheck; in fact, creditors can only garnish a maximum of 25% of your “take home” pay. This encapsulates the amount you would have received after all taxes and any other deductions are made. If you also pay child support, creditors may be entitled to even less.

Still, in most situations, creditors can continue to garnish your wages until the debt is repaid. If you are already experiencing debt problems, losing as much as 25% of your take home pay can be catastrophic to your day-to-day finances and could be the difference between you keeping up with other payments or affording basic necessities like food or gas.

Furthermore, creditors can also seek to garnish more than just your paycheck, including your bank account. Ohio regulations prohibit creditors from garnishing certain types of financial assets, including:

  • Unemployment compensation
  • Social Security benefits
  • Insurance compensation
  • Disability benefits
  • Up to $54,000 in pensions
  • Workers’ compensation benefits

Because creditors can target your bank accounts in addition to your current income, it is critical you get ahead of any wage garnishment before it takes effect. Once a creditor has a court order, it becomes even more difficult to escape the cycle of debt.

How Bankruptcy Can Help Avoid Wage Garnishment

Fortunately, because of the steps required for a creditor to obtain the court order, you will have ample notice that someone is pursuing wage garnishment against you. This gives you the opportunity to retain the legal services of a wage garnishment lawyer in Cincinnati who can help represent you in any suit creditors bring against you.

You still have options if a court rules in favor of a creditor and grants them an order allowing them to garnish your wages. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy helps many debtors discharge debts and work toward a more stable financial future, but it can also be used as a tool to stop wage garnishment.

Successfully filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will initiate a court-ordered “automatic stay.” An automatic stay freezes all collection actions, including wage garnishment. This is true even if a creditor already has their own court order permitting wage garnishment, as the automatic stay trumps it. So long as you complete the terms of your bankruptcy, creditors will not be able to garnish any wages to repay your current debts.

Let Attorney Arthur Southard Help You

At The Southard Law Firm, L.L.C., Attorney Arthur Southard and our entire legal team are committed to helping our Ohio clients find debt relief through every available legal means. Our team is intimately familiar with numerous facets of Ohio bankruptcy and wage garnishment law and can leverage that knowledge and understanding to assist in your case.

We understand that the prospect of wage garnishment is frightening if you are already struggling to make ends meet, and we are committed to helping you exercise your rights and limiting the impact of creditor actions. We can review the details of your financial situation and help determine if bankruptcy makes sense for you.

Do not wait to defend yourself from the threat of wage garnishment. Call or contact us online today.


Personal Attention

We will work to help you move confidently through the legal process and court system, while keeping your goals in mind at all times.


Providing legal counsel and services to people and businesses in Cincinnati and surrounding Ohio counties. Call Attorney Southard to schedule an appointment today.