Wage garnishment is illegal unless it is supported by a court order. Creditors can apply for a court order if they have gone through a significant number of attempts to recover a debt and can find no other alternative. Ohio state law limits garnishment to 25 percent of a person's disposable earnings in most cases as well.
There are a few exceptions, including unpaid child support. The court's rationale for allowing or increasing a garnishment in these cases is that the well-being of a child may rely on child support payments. All court orders for child support have included an income withholding order since 1988.
However, Ohio's state government recently recognized problems in the state's child support system. Unpaid child support has reached $4.5 billion since 1976, and enforcement officials say nearly 70 percent of outstanding debt is owed by parents who make less than $10,000 a year.
The State Senate in Columbus passed Bill 125, which calls for updating the data used to calculate child support, incorporating shared custody arrangements and health insurance burdens. Supporters of the bill are hoping these changes will help keep noncustodial parents out of the underground economy in order to avoid wage garnishment.
If you feel that a wage garnishment is unfair or are looking for alternative ways to pay off debts, you have the right to challenge a court order or learn more in preparation to work with your creditors. Legal representation can help you find the parts of a court order that may be challenged or work with creditors and custodial parents to come up with alternatives.
Source: Dayton Daily News, "Child support reforms clear Ohio Senate," Laura A. Bischoff, Feb. 28, 2018