Writ Of Garnishment In Florida: How To Beat The Creditor

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?”

I am going to take this opportunity to provide a short, general answer to all such inquiries, past and future.There are three categories of responses to a writ of garnishment in Florida. The first option is to assert an exemption of the assets garnished. There are exemptions, for example, available to wages of head of household or some jointly owned bank accounts. The garnishment notice should include a claim of exemption form. Claim your exemption on the form, file it with the court, and send a copy to the creditor or their attorney. You are supposed to get an expedited hearing on the exemption claim, but practically, you will have to be proactive in getting a hearing date.

Second, after you file the exemption form, call the creditor or attorney and discuss your exemption. Most creditor attorneys will voluntarily dissolve a garnishment if you show them proof of a valid exemption.

The third option, if your asset is not exempt, is to fight the garnishment on procedural grounds. The Florida writ of garnishment laws include many detailed procedural requirements with very strict time requirements. Even the most experienced creditor attorneys often violate one of the technical requirements of a writ of garnishment. If you find and assert a procedural violation you can get a court to dissolve the writ of garnishment.

A big issue for people is whether they must, or should, hire an attorney to help them fight the garnishment. The answer depends on a number of factors including the amount of money being garnished and whether your defense is a clear exemption or a legal procedural technicality. My guess is that an experienced attorney will charge no less than $500 to assert a garnishment exemption, and the fees will increase for procedural defects or protracted negotiations with your creditor.

About the Author

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

Jon Alper

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