Creditor Can Get Continuing Writ Of Garnishment Against Future Sales Commissions

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. It is unclear whether a continuing writ of garnishment is applicable to a debtor paid only by commissions. That debtor may or may not be entitled to any commission at any given time. Commissions may not be the type of “wages” subject to a continuing writ in which case the creditor would have to serve a separate writ of garnishment any time the creditor believes the debtor is entitled to a sales commission. It is difficult for a creditor to know when a commission may be payable and to serve a writ of garnishment in time to intercept the commission.

I read a post in the Florida Collection Law Blog about an appeals court case which addressed the applicability of continuing writ of garnishments to commission compensation. The court held that commissions are ‘wages,’ for purposes of Section 77.0305, Florida Statutes, and are therefore subject to a continuing writ of garnishment. The court found that commissions paid for labor or services are within the definition of “wages” and therefore are subject to a continuing writ of garnishment. Baker v. Storfer 2011 WL 222324. Of course, if the debtor is head of household his commissions are exempt from any garnishment pursuant to Florida’s wage exemption.

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

Jon Alper

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