Florida Wage Garnishment Laws
Wage Garnishment Florida
If you are in debt and cannot repay what you owe, there are various sophisticated methods your creditor can use to collect the money you owe them.
They can do this through wage garnishment, which involves seizing your wages, money in your bank account, or your vehicle or assets.
Wage garnishment normally involves your employer withholding part of your wages, and handing it over to your creditor. Fortunately, you can stop this wage garnishment process by filing for bankruptcy or by negotiating with your creditors. The great thing about bankruptcy is that it can stop all debt collection efforts from your creditors. But you have to consult with an experienced lawyer to look into your situation and advise you on whether bankruptcy is the best route for you.
How Wage Garnishment Works
First, the creditor has to obtain a legal judgment that orders your employer to deduct money from your check. Once the order is obtained, a certain amount of money is deducted from your wages every month until all the debt is paid. The amount that will be deducted from your wages depends on the amount of your paycheck, whether you are the head of a household and other factors.
Federal law places limits on the amount that can be garnished from your paycheck so that you can have enough remaining to pay for your expenses. The usual garnishment limit is 25% of your disposable income, or the amount by which your income exceeds 30 times federal minimum wage. If you earn less than 30 times the federal minimum wage, the creditor cannot garnish your wages. Florida law allows you to protect up to $ 1,000 of your personal property from garnishment. [NOTE: These dollar amounts and percentages tend to change from time to time. Check with your attorney for the actual current amounts & limits.]
Filing For Bankruptcy
You can either file for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you cannot pay for your debts. The law does not allow creditors to harass you or undertake any collection efforts once you file for bankruptcy. In fact, creditors can forced to dismiss the garnishment served against you if you file for bankruptcy, but they are not required to return the money or property they took before you filed.
See also…Chapter 11 Business Bankruptcy
When Can Your Wages Be Garnished?
In Florida, creditors can get a wage garnishment order if you have defaulted on credit card payments or have not paid medical bills. They cannot garnish your wages without a court order or without a money judgment on the debtor. The only situations where your wages can be garnished without a court order is when you have defaulted on student loans, or owe child support, or you have not paid income taxes.
If you owe court ordered child support, you should know that a child support order comes with an automatic income withholding order. Your spouse does not need a court order to have your wages garnished. For people who default on a federal student loan, the U.S. Department of Education can garnish their wages without a court order. The federal government can also garnish wages of people that owe back taxes without needing a court order.