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    Twelve years ago I was in need of legal representation stemming from the housing meltdown if 2008. Robert Stiberman and his staff handled the matter with complete professionalism and sp Read More
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  • Jose N.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I have to say that I have had a great experience with Stiberman Law regarding a bankruptcy and they have been very informative and supportive. They have been very helpful and always ans Read More
    January 20, 2023logo
  • L.L.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Excellent service. Great bankruptcy attorney and staff. Always informed me of what to expect. My Chapter 13 bankruptcy was smooth and the process was easy thanks to Robert and the Read More
    July 20, 2022logo
  • Sam Sstarstarstarstarstar5.0
    Twelve years ago I was in need of legal representation stemming from the housing meltdown if 2008. Robert Stiberman and his staff handled the matter with complete professionalism and sp Read More
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    I had a great experience, I just want thank Stiberman law and his team for a great experience also Ana for the help and explaining my case. Appreciate, thank you
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Understanding Florida Wage Garnishment Laws

One of the greatest concerns our clients face is wage garnishment, and they often ask if this is a threat or scare tactic or if debt collectors can actually garnish their wages. While debt collection agencies can take these steps to collect a portion of your paycheck, there are Florida wage garnishment laws laws in place to protect you. To help you understand your options and the steps you can take, we are breaking down wage garnishment in Florida.

What Is Wage Garnishment?

When an individual has missed multiple payments on a debt, the lender or creditor can file a suit against the individual. If the debtor does not attend court or offer any kind of payment arrangement or proof of financial hardship, the court can enter a judgment against them. This opens the door for the lender or creditor to garnish wages, meaning to keep a portion of your paycheck each pay period, until the debt is paid off.

A judgment must be entered to garnish wages to pay medical bills, credit card debt, old utilities, and personal loans. No judgment is needed to garnish wages to pay taxes, child support, or federally backed student loans.

How Much of Your Paycheck Can Be Garnished?

What percentage of your wages can be garnished?

According to Florida wage garnishment laws, creditors can garnish:

  • 25 percent of your weekly earnings after legally required deductions (including federal, state, and local taxes), or
  • The amount by which your weekly post-tax income, also called disposable income, exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less ($7.25/hour x 30 = $217.50 per week). If your disposable income is less than $217.50, all your wages are exempt from being garnished.

Let’s look at an example of an income, after legally required deductions, of $600 per week. The amount greater than 30 times the minimum wage means that $382.50 could be garnished while 25 percent of your disposable earnings would be $150 per week. Thus, the lesser amount would be 25 percent of your disposable income, so your paycheck could be garnished up to $150 per week.

What Funds are Exempt from Garnishment in Florida?

  • Annuities and life insurance proceeds and cash surrender value
  • Roth IRA, IRA, and 401K retirement accounts.
  • Disability income.
  • Head of household wages subject to not exceeding certain amounts.

What Cannot be Garnished in Florida?

Income from a head of family earning less than $750 per week. Please note that this head of household exemption is not automatic and must be properly claimed.

How Can I Stop Garnishment of my Paycheck?

Options for Stopping Wage Garnishment

If you receive a judgment and your workplace is required to begin garnishing your wages to pay a debt, you can either appeal the decision or file for bankruptcy. Let’s look at both options.

Appealing Wage Garnishment

If you have dependents, you may be able to File a Claim of Exemption by claiming the head of household exemption. If you can claim head of household, or show that you pay at least half of the living expenses of a dependent, your income can’t be garnished if your weekly disposable income is less than $750 dollars.

You should also review the Writ of Garnishment to look for any procedural mistakes or, if possible, offer to settle the judgment if you have the funds to do so. However, you must work quickly as you only have 20 days to respond before your pay is garnished.

Filing for Bankruptcy Stops Wage Garnishment

If your paycheck is already being garnished or you don’t meet the exemptions, filing for bankruptcy may be the right option. It is important to understand bankruptcy garnishment rules. By filing for bankruptcy, all wage garnishment and attempts at collection must cease as your debts are accumulated and processed. If you are filing for Chapter 7, your debts may be discharged after eligible assets are used to settle with creditors, while Chapter 13 restructures your debt to allow you to make a payment that is dispersed to those to whom you owe money. After three to five years, eligible debt is discharged.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Bankruptcy Attorney in Florida

If you’re struggling to make ends meet due to wage garnishment or experiencing hardship due to debt, bankruptcy may be the right option to help you achieve financial freedom. Schedule a free consultation with Stiberman Law, an experienced bankruptcy law firm in Florida dedicated to helping our clients get out from under debt. Call us at (954) 922-2283 or fill out the form below to get started.

Written By:

Attorney Robert Stiberman

Robert is an experienced bankruptcy attorney with more than 13 years of experience in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Robert regularly practices in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach Divisions of th... Read More

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