Can a Florida debtor claim head of household for support of same sex partner? Florida statutes exempt from creditors wages, salary, and other compensation for services earned by the head of household. A head of household is the person who provides more than 50% of the support for a dependent. Florida courts have held that the “dependent” does not have to be a dependent for income tax purposes and does not have to reside in the household. There must be a legal or strong moral obligation to provide economic support.
A email asked if a debtor could be head of household if the debtor lives with and financially supports a same sex partner. Although there arguably is a moral obligation of support in this situation, in my opinion, that obligation is too far removed from the intent of the statute. Debtors who asserted head of household based on moral support obligations have done so in the context of a traditional family. For instance, a debtor may have a moral support obligation toward an adult child residing in a separate dwelling or toward an elderly parent. Even though a debtor may feel morally obligated to support a live in boyfriend or girlfriend, I do not think that obligation to a non-family member would be strong enough for the debtor to be entitled to wage exemption as the head of a household.
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