A judgment creditor cannot garnish wages of a Florida domiciled debtor who is head of household. Assume, that a creditor sues the Florida resident in Georgia and gets a money judgment against a Florida resident based on a transaction in Georgia. During the proceeding, the debtor was a full time resident of Florida and worked in Florida. The employer had an office in Georgia, but it paid the debtor his salary in Florida. Do you think that the Georgia creditor can garnish the wages in Georgia at the employer’s Georgia address, or can the debtor assert his Florida wage exemption because he is a Florida citizen?
Similarly, suppose the Florida debtor had lived previously in Georgia many years ago, and that when he Georgia he opened an annuity investment account at the Georgia office of a national finance company. Surely, Florida statutes exempting IRA from creditor levy would protect the debtor’s IRA account.
The Florida statutory exemptions will not protect the debtor in Georgia. The Georgia creditor can garnish his wages paid in Florida and his annuity to the extent either are not otherwise exempted under Georgia laws. There is a general rule of law that exemptions cannot be exported, so that most courts in other states will not recognize exemptions afforded to Florida residents. In other words, exemption laws have no extraterritorial effect.
Courts do recognize judgments and contracts from other states under the principal of “comity.” Several courts have stated a general rule that the rule of comity among states extends only to rights and not to creditor remedies; rights are substantive while remedies are procedural.
Asset protection for Florida residents must guard against enforcement of judgments in other states’ courts when another court has jurisdiction over either the debtor personally or property of the debtor located in another state.
Post updated on