Civil Division - Trusteeships

What is Trusteeship
Trusteeship is a program created under the garnishment laws of the State of Ohio (ORC 2329.70) that permits a debtor to place debts into a trusteeship to protect a paycheck from garnishment. Trusteeship does not prevent a creditor from collecting on a legal judgment by other means, such as bank garnishments or placing a lien on property. When in trusteeship, debtors pay a percentage of their pay to the Court each pay period. The Court then disburses this money to their creditors. The municipal courts of the State of Ohio administer this program. Each court may have its own rules with the State Code.

Requirements for Filing

  • A debtor must live within the jurisdiction of the Toledo Municipal Court. A resident of southeastern Michigan (Bedford, Temperance, Lambertville, etc.) may apply for Trusteeship if they have employment within the jurisdiction of the Toledo Municipal Court.
  • There must be a civil judgment and either a 15-day notice of garnishment or an actual wage garnishment against them. Only one (1) is needed to qualify.
  • Any debt over $20.00 can be entered in the Trusteeship program with 10 days allowed for refusal of secured amounts. However, bills in question (i.e. NSF checks, current utility bills, taxes not listed under a civil docket number, etc.) will be sent to the Judge for review/approval. The debtor must furnish the name, address, zip code and account numbers of each creditor. If a creditor has filed a lawsuit, we must also have the Civil docket number.
  • A $25.00 filing fee is required at the time of filing. Also the first payment on the current pay stub must be made. Payment to the court is 25% per pay period.

Rules to Stay Active
Payments must be made within 3 working days of receipt of check stub. Debtors must make a minimum payment of $3.00 from each check received regardless of the length of time worked.

In the event of unemployment, layoff or sick leave, the Trusteeship Department must be notified and repeatedly notified every 30 days.

Accounts are canceled quarterly. All accounts that are behind 30 days or more are canceled. A debtor cannot re-file for trusteeship for a period of six (6) months from the date of cancellation. 

Questions Regarding Trusteeship

  • What kind of debts can be placed into a trusteeship? Any secured or unsecured debts (see requirements for filing). Student loans can be placed into a Trusteeship. However, the Federal Government can, without a lawsuit, garnish a check on student loans. Also, Trusteeship does NOT prevent the government from attaching income tax refunds.
  • How will this affect my credit rating? Trusteeship is placed on the debtor's credit rating.
  • How is the money disbursed? The court disburses the money to all creditors on a percentage basis. The creditor owed the most gets the most, but all creditors are paid something at each disbursement. The accounts are paid on when $600.00 is accumulated in the trusteeship account.
  • How long can I stay in trusteeship? A person can stay in trusteeship as long as he makes his payments to the court. There is no time limit. 
  • Can a debt be added to Trusteeship after the original filing? Yes, a debt can be added through a motion. The only creditors which may be added to existing Trusteeship accounts shall be those which were past due and owed by the debtor at the time of filing the Trusteeship but were not listed due to mistake, and any medical bills acquired by the debtor before or after the filing of Trusteeship. The charge to add a motion is $3.00. 
  • What happens if I get canceled? A debtor cancelled for non-payment cannot re-file for a period of 6 months from the date of cancellation. The employer is notified in writing of a cancellation.
  • What happens to the money if a trusteeship is canceled? Once money is paid into the court on a trusteeship, that money belongs to the creditors. All money is disbursed to the creditors when a trustee account is either canceled or paid in full.
  • As a creditor, can I find out about trusteeship? YES! All creditors are notified of all trusteeship filings in which they are named. The creditor has the right to update the amount owed to him. This form must be signed and dated and returned to the Trusteeship Department. Also, the creditor can contact the Trusteeship Department with the debtor's Trusteeship number and find out how they are paying and the amount that is accumulated. 
  • Can a creditor still obtain judgment against me while I am in Trusteeship? Yes. However, be sure to contact the Trusteeship Clerk. With proper documentation, and if the rules of Trusteeship are followed, wages can be protected from garnishment.
    Also remember that the Federal Government can, without a lawsuit, garnish a check on student loans.
  • What happens if I decide to file bankruptcy? The debtor must send Trusteeship a signed and dated letter stating they have filed bankruptcy, along with a copy of the Bankruptcy Notice. Then if there is money in the Trusteeship account, the debtor must provide a copy of the order stating who and where to send the money.

Items to remember about your trusteeship

  • Always be sure you have your Trusteeship and Social Security numbers when making payments, calling the office or corresponding regarding your account.
  • No payment will be accepted without your pay stub! If you lose your pay stub, a photocopy, print out, or signed and dated documentation (listing week ending date, gross, all deductions and net) from your employer can be used for payment.  When a payment is made at the counter, present your pay stub so that the minimum payment may be verified.  Payment is to be made in check, cash or money order.  The amount to pay on is figured by deducting City, Federal and State Taxes, Social Security and/or Pension Fund from gross wages.  When making payments by mail, send your pay stub and a money order or bank draft.  Be sure to mark ATTENTION TRUSTEESHIP on the outside of the envelope and include your Trusteeship number and Social Security number.  If you want your pay stub and receipt returned, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.  Only checks, bank drafts and money orders are acceptable. Please  DO NOT SEND CASH! 
  • Whenever you are off work for any reason, let the Trustee Clerk know immediately!  When off work and not being paid, a signed and dated letter is required from your employer, indicating the last day worked, first day back to work, and when the first check will be expected upon return to work.  Should you be off work for an extended length of time, you must contact the Trusteeship Clerk every 30 days to report work status.  You are not expected to pay into Court when you are not drawing a check, but we must know that you are off work or else the records would show that you are delinquent and an attorney may commence a garnishment action.
  • If you change your job, address or phone number, you must also advise immediately.
  • You must make a payment on each pay you draw.  This applies to vacation pay, sick pay, a bonus check, or other earned wages.  Payments and pay stubs must be received in this office within three business days from receipt of your check.
  • Interest must be paid outside of Trusteeship on any interest bearing accounts listed. 
  • Thirteen days after Trusteeship has been filed, contact the Court to find out if any refusals have been received on secured loans.  Should a creditor call you or write to advise that they have refused to accept Trusteeship, be sure to call the Court for verification of this statement and assistance should you have questions.
  • If a refusal has not been received within the thirteen day period allowed by law, (ten days for refusal and a three day mailing period), the creditor MUST abide by the rules of the Court and accept payments.
  • If an account is paid in full outside of Trusteeship, the Court must receive signed and dated documentation from the creditor. The attorney must file a satisfaction if a civil docket number has been listed.