Be Careful Not To Waive Exemption From Wage Garnishment

I would like to clarify the head of household exemption from wage garnishment. To often, clients assert during our consultations that they know their wages cannot be garnished because they are “head of household.” It’s not that simple because debtors can waiver their head of household protection in writing.More and more banks are including in loan documents a waiver of head of household exemption from wage garnishment. Before you assume that a bank which gets a money judgment cannot garnish your wages you must read the promissory note (not the mortgage) to see if the note includes a garnishment waiver.

In 2010 the Florida legislature changed to waiver law to better protect debtors. The statute not requires the debtor’s waiver to be stated on a separate document so it can no longer be hidden in the fine print of the loan documents. Also the waiver must be at least 14 point font and conspicuous. However, loan documents signed prior to the 2010 statute may contain effective waivers buried in fine print.

Read your promissory note and loan documents carefully before you assume that your wages may not be garnished. And, if you have been sued by a bank on a defaulted promissory note do not assume that your wages are exempt from garnishment until you have an attorney review your loan documents.

About the Author

Jon Alper is an expert in asset protection planning for individuals and small businesses.

Jon Alper

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