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Can you stop a wage garnishment?

The threat of a wage garnishment can be devastating to your finances. Many debtors are not aware that they have rights when it comes to wage garnishment and do not know what to do to prevent their income from seizure. Under federal law, a creditor cannot take more than 25 percent of your disposable income, but under Florida law, there are even more protections for you

Florida law on wage garnishment

Generally, before garnishing your wages, the creditor must have a judgment from the court. However, a creditor does not need a judgment for unpaid court-ordered child support or back income taxes. You do have to assert your rights to stop a garnishment. You have the burden of proof to demonstrate that the garnishment should not be allowed. One common way to avoid a garnishment is to show that you take care of a dependent. 

Florida Statute 222.11 protects a head of household with a dependent with wages under $750 per week. A head of household is someone who provides more than one-half of the support for a child or another dependent. If you make more than $750 per week, you must have agreed to a wage garnishment in writing. The head of household exemption does not apply to tax refunds, because those are not considered wages.

Check your options  

The creditor filing the lawsuit has to make a good faith effort to collect the debt before pursuing wage garnishment. There are also deadlines and rules that the creditor must follow in obtaining a judgment against you. You have the chance to reply to the lawsuit before any judgment occurs, but you also have deadlines to respond.

Florida has many laws which help debtors, but knowing how these laws apply to your situation can be confusing. It is a good idea to speak to an experienced lawyer about your wage garnishment case before making any decisions.   

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