Wage garnishment is a special type of garnishment writ provided by Florida Statutes.
A creditor can garnish a debtor’s wages or salary to satisfy a judgment. What makes the wage garnishment particularly effective is the continuing application of the writ. A single writ served on the debtor’s employer will garnish all of the debtor’s salary and wages as they become payable in the future until the judgment is satisfied or the garnishment is dissolved. Garnishment writs directed at other debts or compensation, such as rents or payments to an independent contractor, apply only to payments due the debtor on the day the writ is served upon the garnishee. There are no continuing garnishments against anything other than wages.
No writs of garnishment are permitted against a debtor who qualifies as the head of household because his earnings provide the primary financial support of another person to whom he has either a legal or moral obligation of support. A debtor whose employer is garnished may claim an exemption or file a motion to dissolve the garnishment if the debtor is a head of household. You may not assert a head of household exemption from wage garnishment if you have waived the exemption in writing. Many creditors will attempt to include written waivers in promissory notes or other credit documents. Courts will enforce waivers even if they are in the “small print.”
Debtors who are not head of household, or who have waived head of household protection, may have their wages garnished up to limits allowed by federal law. The Consumer Credit Protection Act limits wage garnishments to no more than the lesser of twenty five percent of a debtor’s disposable weekly income thirty times the Federal minimum wage. However, greater amounts may be garnished to enforce tax debts or court ordered support obligations.
Wage garnishments, like all other garnishments, are subject to strict and detailed legal procedures. These procedural requirements are discussed elsewhere on this website. A debtor may dissolve a wage garnishment if the judgment creditor violates any of the statutory garnishment procedures.