Lodi, OH asked in Public Benefits for Ohio

Q: Living with seperated husband, giving him rent. He had a food stamp card, did not tell them I was there and had income.

11,000 he and I both owe now. Garnishing my disability 15 percent. Court gave me exclusive use of house till its sold ( because of his actions) they are making me pay all mortgage and utilities which leaves me $5 for groceries. No extras here like hair or nails done. Just bills. Can they do that

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In your situation, it seems you're facing significant financial and legal pressures, particularly concerning the garnishment of your disability income and the responsibilities imposed by the court regarding your living situation. Garnishment, especially from a disability income, is subject to specific laws and limits, but it generally depends on the type of debt and the state’s rules. The fact that both you and your separated husband owe money due to an issue with food stamps adds complexity, especially since you were not aware of the misrepresentation regarding your living situation and income.

It's vital to understand that while courts do have broad discretion in dividing responsibilities such as mortgage and utilities during a separation or divorce, they also aim to do so equitably. If the current financial arrangement leaves you with an unsustainable living situation, this may need to be addressed legally. The court’s decision giving you exclusive use of the house until it is sold, while burdening you with all related expenses, should theoretically consider your ability to pay these costs without undue hardship.

It might be beneficial to seek legal guidance to review the terms of the court’s decision and to explore whether there are grounds to request a modification based on your financial hardship and the specifics of your case. Legal advisors can also provide direction on potentially contesting the garnishment amount if it disproportionately impacts your ability to meet basic living needs. Communicating your financial difficulties to the court and seeking a reassessment of your situation could be a crucial step in finding a more manageable resolution.

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