Once a judgment is obtained against you, the creditor may garnish your personal earnings up to 25% through a garnishment proceeding initiated in the same court that rendered the judgment. The process involves various steps before a creditor can receive an order from the court approving the garnishment.
This process begins with the creditor sending a demand in writing, which is sometimes referred to as a 15 day letter. The demand shall be made after the judgment is obtained and at least 15 days and not more than 45 days before the order from the court is sought. This demand gives you options that you can complete within 15 days of receiving the demand in order to avoid the garnishment. These options include:
- Paying the creditor the amount due;
- Complete a “Payment to Avoid Garnishment” form and return it to the creditor with the payment, if any, shown due on it; or
- Apply to your local municipal or county court or, if you are not a resident of Ohio, to the municipal or county court in whose jurisdiction your place of employment is located, for the appointment of a trustee to receive the part of your earnings that is not exempt from garnishment, and notify us that you have applied for the appointment of a trustee. You will be required to list your creditors, the amount of their claims, the amount due on their claims, and the amount you will pay to your trustee each payday. This amount will be divided among your creditors until your debts are paid off. This can be advantageous for you, as creditors cannot garnish your wages.
You may also contact an attorney who may be able to make arrangements with the creditor for you to make affordable monthly payments to the creditor in order to avoid garnishment, which is preferable to paying up to 25% of your wages.
Commencement of Garnishment Proceeding
If you do not elect to take part in any of the options listed above, the creditor will file an affidavit of the current balance with the court and seek the garnishment order. You should receive notice of this filing and may request a hearing if you dispute the current balance claimed to be due and owed within five days of receiving the notice.
Order of Garnishment Issued
If you fail to request a hearing or the court finds that judgment is proper and the balance is correct, the court will issue an order approving the garnishment. During this process your employer, as well as you, will receive notice that a specified amount of money will be withheld from your personal earnings each pay period. This garnishment will be continuous, unless otherwise specified, until enough funds are garnished to satisfy the judgment.
Once enough funds are garnished to satisfy the judgment, the creditor is required to file a satisfaction of judgment. This notifies the court that the case is fully disposed of and serves as receipt of payment. The filing of the satisfaction of judgment will release the garnishment.