I often consult with clients who call frantic about their paychecks being garnished. Many times they believe that their entire paycheck will be taken until their debt is paid off. This hopefully will clarify some aspects of wage garnishments in Florida.
What is Wage Garnishment in Florida and When Does It Apply?
A Wage Garnishment is when a creditor who has a judgment against you (Judgement Creditor) gets an Order from a court that is sent to your employer directing him to withhold money from your paycheck and to pay the amount withheld directly to the creditor.
A creditor can’t just send a letter your employer to make him withhold your pay. First, he must get a judgment against you and an Order from the court directing your pay to be withheld. There are a few exceptions to this rule (mentioned below) but you should always consult with an attorney.
How Much Can be Garnished?
A creditor can garnish up to 25% of your net wages or the amount your net wages exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage. If your wages are less than 30 times the federal then the judgment creditor can not garnish any of your wages.
Special Laws for Certain Debts:
Some types of debts have special laws and a creditor does not need to obtain a judgment prior to garnishing wages. These laws apply to child support, taxes, and student loans.
Claims of Exemption:
A Claim of Exemption is a defense to use against a judgment creditor who is attempting to get garnish wages or seek assets through other legal means. There are numerous claims of exemption to protect personal property. However, the main exemption to protect garnishments under Florida law is the Head of Family Exemption. If a person makes $500 or less per week in net wages and that person provides more than one half of the support for a child or another person in the house, that person’s wages are exempt from being garnished.
As a Miami Debt Defense attorney, I consult with many potential clients who are having their wages garnished. If you are having your wages garnished and would like a free consultation, call my office at (786) 529-2176. Regardless of whether it is credit card debt, student loan debt or any other judgment you have, my office can provide you with the defenses you need to continue paying your bills.