Columbus Wage Garnishment Attorneys
I just received a judgment against me in the mail. How fast can the creditor collect against me?
In Ohio, there are 3 main collection tools that creditors use to collect a money judgment:
- Wage Garnishment
- Bank Levy
- Judicial Lien (“Certificate of Judgment”)
Garnishment and Bankruptcy Laws in Ohio
In Ohio, a general creditor is allowed to seek a wage garnishment or bank levy against you once a judgment is ordered in either Municipal or County Court. In addition, federal law and Ohio state law allows for a worker’s wages to be garnished and bank accounts seized for IRS tax liabilities, state income debt, child support and spousal support obligations, and student loans.
Bank Levies and Asset Seizures
A creditor can also (in addition to a wage garnishment and judgment lien) seek to seize assets from your bank account. This is known as a “bank account levy” or “bank levy”. Undoubtedly, a bank levy can impose a significant hardship on you and your family by freezing your bank accounts, thus limiting you from being able to pay your other personal expenses.
A third way for a creditor to recover its money judgment is by filing a Certificate of Judgment. A judgment lien doesn’t necessarily have an immediate impact, but it can affect you in the future if you try to transfer your residence or refinance your mortgage. A certificate of judgment operates as a judicial lien against your real and personal property. Judicial liens are most relevant in dealing with your real estate. Although the creditor cannot force the sale of your residence when you attempt to transfer your real property or try to refinance your mortgage that judicial lien must be first satisfied. A judicial lien can be avoided in bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Lawyers at Sheppard Law Offices can help you determine if you have a judicial lien and if so avoid a judicial lien.
Can Bankruptcy stop a Wage Garnishment?
Yes. When you file for bankruptcy relief under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the “automatic stay” provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is activated. No creditor can collect against a debtor once a bankruptcy petition is filed with the bankruptcy court.
Does a wage garnishment stop when I file bankruptcy?
Yes. On the date, you file for bankruptcy protection a “Notice of Bankruptcy Filing” is issued by the bankruptcy court. At Sheppard Law Offices, we immediately send that Notice to your employer or payroll department so that no further wages will be garnished. If for any reason your wages are garnished after you file for bankruptcy, you will receive those garnished wages back from the creditor.
Ohio Exemptions to Protect Wages and Monies in Bank Accounts
In Ohio, there are statutory exemptions that protect at least some of the monies that can be taken by creditors. For example, creditors can only take up to 25% of your wages, and currently, a creditor can only take monies in bank accounts that exceed $475.00. Also, a general creditor cannot seize any money you receive from a federal benefit such as Social Security Income or Social Security Disability Income. In bankruptcy, we use these state law exemptions to protect your assets.
Filing bankruptcy will halt lawsuits and potential wage garnishments and bank levies. If a creditor is attempting to seize your assets, call our Columbus Bankruptcy Attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices as soon as possible at (877) 505-9455 to ask about your legal rights and remedies.