Wages of a head of household cannot be garnished in Florida pursuant to a Florida statute. A caller stated that he agreed to sign a non-compete agreement with his current employer, and that under the agreement the employer was paying him an amount monthly in consideration for the non-compete. The caller asked whether a creditor could garnish payment owned him under the non-compete clause. He believed that the non-compete payments from his employer were not subject to garnishment under the wage exemption statute assuming he was head of household.
I think a creditor could garnish payments from the employer made pursuant to the non-compete agreement. The Florida wage garnishment law does not exempt all payments from an employer. The exemption is for wages, salary, commissions or any similar payment made in consideration for personal services. The statute protects compensation for a debtor’s labor but not the proceeds received for abiding by a contractual obligation, in this example an agreement to restrict one’s work. In my opinion, this caller’s rights to payments for the non-compete are not in the nature of payment for personal labor; rather, the payments are consideration for performance of a contractual agreement and therefore not protected by the wage garnishment statute.
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