Florida Statutes exempt from garnishment money paid to a debtor for personal services “whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, or bonus.” Sometimes a “bonus” is not really a bonus for personal services and is not exempt.
I consulted with an asset protection client who was moving to Florida from Tennessee where he had previously set up an IRA with a bank’s investment department. I suggested that the client relocate the IRA to a Florida financial company or open an IRA with a national financial firm at its Florida office.
Many people are motivated to contact be because a creditor served a Florida writ of garnishment on their employer or bank account. One of their first questions is : “what should I do about the garnishment?”
Judgment debtors frequently maintain multiple bank accounts at particular banks. Some accounts may be in the debtor’s individual name and subject to the creditor’s writ of garnishment. Other accounts may be exempt joint accounts, wage accounts, or even accounts in the name of a separate, non-debtor business entity for which the debtor has signature authority.
A reader emailed me to following question: “Can a married couple both claim head of household exemption from wage garnishment if they life together, but where each spouse supports different dependents who are children of a previous marriage.”
I had always thought that a creditor can garnish a debtor’s bank account in any state where the bank maintained a branch office. For example, if a debtor opened a bank account at a small Georgia bank, and the bank had a branch in Florida, a Florida court could issue a writ garnishment against the…
A continuing writ of wage garnishment is a powerful collection tool because a creditor can serve a single writ of garnishment on the employer which garnishes all future wages whenever payable into the future. The continuing writ has been used to garnish debtor employees who receive the same paycheck on a periodic basis.
Creditors cannot garnish wages of Florida resident who is head of household. Wages earned by the spouse who is not head of household is subject to garnishment. Sometimes clients ask me what compensation is included in the definition of “wages” which are either exempt or are subject to garnishment.
I received an interesting email question about wage garnishment issued outside of Florida against a Florida resident.
A husband and his wife are jointly liable on a real estate bank loan and could not afford to continue payments. After they stopped making monthly payments the bank sued both spouses to collect the full loan balance. Both spouses worked and were concerned that the bank would garnish their wages after getting a judgment.