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WAGE GARNISHMENT

Wage garnishment is when a creditor periodically withholds a portion of a debtor's income from employment to satisfy a judgment. A writ of continuing garnishment is issued to the debtor's employer and the employer withholds the wages from the employee. The wages are then turned over to the creditor. Wages can be garnished until the amount of the judgment has been satisfied, which may include interest and attorney's fees. The amount of wages that can be withheld is determined by the Credit Protection Act 15 U.S.C. 1673.

A debtor who is a head a family may have an exemption or protection from wage garnishment under Florida law. Whether a party qualified as head of a family is determined by Florida law, specifically §222.11. Head of family is defined as a person who provides more than one half of the support for a child or other dependent. A dependent can be a child, a spouse, an infirmed parent, even a former spouse to whom the debtor paid alimony and thereby contributed more than one half of the support.

The exemption is also limited to the disposable income of the judgment debtor. Earnings are defined as monetary compensation for labor and personal services. The earnings must also be fixed or regular, dictated by the terms of an arms length transaction. A debtor who owns his own business cannot exempt funds by denominating the funds as wages. Commissions and accounts receivable paid to an independent contractor are not protected as wages.

In October 2010, the Florida Legislature amended the "head of family" exemption under F.S. §222.11. First, the amendment changed the amount of wages that are exempt from garnishment. The amount changed from $500.00 weekly to $750.00 per week.

Second, the amendment created an additional requirement for a creditor to obtain of waiver of the head of family exemption. The waiver must be stated on a separate document, must be written in the same language as the contract or agreement. And the waiver must be at least in 14 point font in the following form:

If you provide more than one-half of the support for a child or other dependent, all or part of your income is exempt from garnishment under Florida law. You can waive this protection only by signing these documents. By signing below, you agree to weave the protection from garnishment.

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  • "When I first came to the decision to file for bankruptcy, I had no idea where to start. I began researching attorneys on the internet and came across the information for Tim Sierra. Since he specialized in bankruptcy and had a lot of experience......"
  • The process of going through bankruptcy could be very overwhelming but Tim made me feel at ease and I felt that my needs were being taken care of. I truly feel that he had my best interests in mind and the lines of communication were always open....
  • "I had to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I didn't know anyone who could refer someone so I took a chance and just looked on the Internet. I don't remember exactly why I chose Mr. Sierra, but I am glad I did..."
  • He was honest, straightforward, and hard-working. In my case I ended up with some extenuating circumstances and he handled the matter professionally even though I'm sure the work probably exceeded what he originally felt it would be....
  • I don't ever write reviews, and I had no prior relationship with Mr. Sierra. This review is simply being written as a service to others that Mr. Sierra is an excellent attorney and should be considered for your needs if you need one....
  • "I'm very happy to have been referred to Tim for my Chapter 7 filing. He was knowledgeable in his field and very responsive in replying to any questions or concerns I had. Tim was also very accommodating with meeting times..."
  • " I recently was in need of Mr. Sierra's services and I found him to be very understanding and helpful in my particular circumstance. He met with me and explained everything in full detail and also answered every question that I had....."
  • " I recommend Timothy Sierra a loyal and dependable lawyer. When you talk to him you feel that you are with a friend or a member of your family. Timothy is able to lead you in every step of the process. Good job Timothy."
  • " Bankruptcy is a private and personally devastating life event. Timothy Sierra and his assistant, Nancy, made the process as painless as possible. They kept in close contact via phone and email so I always knew what was happening in my case...."
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