Wage garnishment is permissible in all 50 states, with most states having their own set of specific rules and exemptions. Some states abide solely by the federal model and do not provide additional protections. Chapter 77 of the Florida Statutes outlines the details of Florida wage garnishment law. In general, wage garnishment occurs when a court orders that a percentage of your paycheck be withheld so it can be sent directly to the creditor or creditors to which you owe a debt. This is called a judgment. When the creditor has a judgment against you it means that they have been given permission by the courts to garnish your wages.
By federal law, there are restrictions on how much can be taken out of your paycheck. No more than 25% of your disposable earnings can be withheld at any time to pay back ordinary creditors, and that is if you first meet certain requirements. To acquire the court order that allows them to do this, the creditor(s) in question first have to sue you, the debtor. There are instances during which no lawsuit occurs and no court order is needed to garnish your wages. There are also entities that may take more than 25% of your income. In this blog we will cover the important situations in which your wages can be garnished without your notice.
CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY
Paying child support is a responsibility that cannot be dodged. Generally, if you fall behind on child support payments your wages can be garnished without a court judgment; the order for child support becomes a judgment that can be collected on at the time you fall behind. Since 1988 all court orders regarding child support payments include an order to automatically withhold wages. This is to protect custodial parents from accumulating money owed to them.
In Florida, your wages are automatically withheld to fulfill child support obligations. If you are the non-custodial parent and you have a job, Florida law requires your employer to withhold your income. In this state, income withholding occurs without the need for falling behind on payments. If you do fall behind, the state kicks in with wage garnishment.
Like other forms of garnishment, federal laws restrict how much can be garnished for child support. When it comes to child support, up to half of your disposable earnings can be garnished if you are additionally supporting a spouse or child that have nothing to do with the child support order. If you are not supporting any other family, up to 60% of your earnings are eligible for garnishment.
If you default on a federal student loan, you may be subject to administrative garnishment. This debt-collection process allows the federal agency to which you owe money, most likely the US Department of Education, to take up to 15% of your earnings. No lawsuit is required for administrative garnishment, but you are notified within at least 30 days that the garnishment will occur.
No judgment is necessary if you owe back taxes. The federal government is entitled to garnish your wages, as well as state and local governments to collect unpaid taxes. The IRS holds more garnishment power than regular creditors and can determine the amount to be garnished based on how much you owe.
For guidance with your specific garnishment dilemma, Attorney Jibrael S. Hindi and his team of consumer law attorneys in Florida is ready to serve you. Understand your rights regarding wage garnishment in Florida and explore all your options. There may be ways to halt the garnishment, or put an end to it altogether. Call 1-844-JIBRAEL today to speak with a Ft.Lauderdale attorney who specializes in garnishment laws for FREE.