Living paycheck to paycheck can lead to financial instability and massive debt. A creditor might contact you about unpaid bills and threaten to garnish your wages. Maybe wage garnishment has already started. Either way, you need help from Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
We can explore the available options to prevent creditors from intercepting your hard-earned income and get your finances back on track. Call an experienced Orlando wage garnishment lawyer from Florida Law Advisers, P.A., for a free consultation to learn more.
When Can a Creditor Garnish My Wages?
A creditor must obtain a judgment from the court to collect your debt by garnishing your wages. That means they must file a lawsuit and get the judge to issue a wage garnishment order against you.
Can Wages Be Garnished Without Notice?
Yes. Notice isn’t a requirement to garnish someone’s wages. A creditor can proceed with wage garnishment without informing you if you have unpaid child support obligations, income taxes, alimony, or federal student loans. You won’t get notice until after your wages have been withheld.
Student Loan Wage Garnishment in Florida
If you default on a student loan, the U.S. Department of Education or another creditor can garnish up to 15 percent of your wages but no more than 30 times the federal minimum weekly wage.
The agency responsible for collecting your past-due payments can initiate wage garnishment without a court order or lawsuit. However, they must provide written notice at least 30 days before the garnishment starts with this information:
- The amount you owe
- How to set up a voluntary repayment schedule
- The process for requesting a hearing on the proposed garnishment
- How to get copies of the loan-related records
Are There Limits on Wage Garnishment in Florida?
Federal law imposes a limit on wage garnishment. It aims to allow enough money left over from a paycheck for the debtor to be able to afford living expenses.
Creditors can garnish an amount of a debtor’s disposable income that doesn’t exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage or up to 25 percent of their disposable income, whichever is lower.
State law exempts a person from wage garnishment if they are the head of the household and have no more than $750 in weekly disposable earnings.
Garnishment limits differ for debt, such as:
- Child Support – If you are the supporting parent and owe child support, the most the government can garnish is 50 percent of your disposable earnings. The limit increases to 60 percent of your disposable earnings if you are not the supporting parent. If you owe more than 12 weeks of child support payments, the government can take another 5 percent in wage garnishment.
- Federal Taxes – The federal government doesn’t need a court judgment to garnish your wages if you owe back taxes. The garnishment amount will depend on your deduction rate and the number of dependents you claim on your taxes.
- Student Loans – The Department of Education can garnish up to 15 percent of your disposable income but no more than 30 times the federal minimum wage if you have unpaid student loans.