Wage garnishment is one of the most effective tools for debt recovery. Wage garnishment happens when the debtor’s employer is directed by the court to withhold and remit a certain portion of their salary directly to the creditor or the individual to whom they are indebted.
However, it is important to understand that the debtor has rights under Florida law, including exemptions and caps on how much the collector can garnish from their paycheck. Here is what you need to know about wage garnishment exemptions in the Sunshine State.
Florida statutes on wage garnishment
Florida law prohibits wage garnishment for certain debtors. For instance, a debtor who is classified as “head of household” may not have their salary, bonuses and commissions garnished. A head of household, according to this statute, is the family’s primary breadwinner or an individual who has dependents such as children and parents. This statute prohibits the creditor from garnishing the head of the household’s earnings as long as its sources can be traced.
Assets you cannot garnish in Florida
Besides the head of household’s salary, commissions and bonuses, Florida law also exempts certain assets from garnishment. Some of these assets include:
- Retirement accounts such as 401(K)s
- Proceeds from life insurance and annuities
- Federal student loans
- State disability and state welfare benefits
- Social Security Insurance benefits
- Veterans’ federal benefits
- Unemployment benefits (except where child support debt is involved)
- Medical savings
- Income from tax credits
It is important to note that retirement and Social Security Disability benefits can be garnished for purposes of settling unpaid child support, spousal support as well as any federal tax debts owed.
Wage garnishment may seem like the creditor’s most realistic chance of recovering their debt. Find out how you can garnish your debtor’s wage without violating their rights.