What is Wage Garnishment Defense
Wage garnishment occurs after a judgment has been entered against a debtor, which means the debtor has already been sued and lost either on the merits or by default for failure to respond. A judgment is a monetary amount that a creditor is allowed to collect from a debtor. One way a creditor can attempt to collect on their judgment is to attempt to garnish a debtor’s wages. The creditor, through the court, contacts the debtor’s employer and informs them that they must garnish a certain amount of money from the debtor’s paycheck until the creditor’s judgment is satisfied. Once you have received a notice of garnishment from the creditor/court you should contact our office immediately to review what wage garnishment defenses are available to you.
What Defenses are available to Wage Garnishment?
There are numerous defenses that a debtor may bring up when their wages are being garnished, they can include the following:
1. Head of Household – Florida Statute 222.11 allows a debtor, who qualifies as the head of household, to STOP or PREVENT a garnishment. Typically head of household means that the debtor provides more than 50% of the living expenses for a dependent which is understood to mean children. There are cases that broaden the meaning of the word dependent to include other family members such as aunt, uncle, parents, and even former spouses.
2. Types of Income Defenses – Not all types of income can be garnished. Wages that include social security, welfare, disability, workers comp, and life insurance benefits are types of wages that cannot be garnished.
3. Vacate the Judgment – A wage garnishment can typically only occur if a creditor has a judgment against you. One defense to the garnishment is to review the case history and see if there is a way to vacate the judgment against the debtor. By vacating a judgment the creditor would not be able to garnish the debtor’s wages.
What are the Procedures to Stop a Garnishment?
Upon the creditor filing a notice of garnishment, the clerk of court sends a notice to the debtor regarding the garnishment. The debtor has TWENTY days, from the day they received the notice of garnishment, to file an exemption. The filing of the exemption allows the debtor to have a hearing in court to explain why they are exempt from a wage garnishment.
What if no Defenses are Available?
After Shmucher Law, PL is hired and we review your case, we may inform you that there are no debt defenses available on your case, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t help you. We will still be able to work out a debt settlement agreement with the creditor that allows the debtor to pay the creditor directly, without garnishing the debtors’ wages.
Contact Shmucher Law, PL
If a creditor has threatened you or has attempted to garnish your wages, please contact our office immediately by calling 305.741.5553 to schedule a consultation. Please remember that wage garnishment defense are very time-sensitive and requires immediate responses to be effective. Our office offers free consultation regarding your wage garnishment defense and we can offer flexible payment plans.