Florida allows creditors to seize a portion of a delinquent debtor’s wages to satisfy an unpaid debt. A creditor may obtain a court order allowing the creditor to collect what they are owed by having a specified amount of money deducted from your paycheck each month to be forwarded to the creditor. This is wage garnishment.
In many cases, it is the federal government or a local government that garnishes an individual’s wages when the individual has an unpaid child or spousal support, tax debt, or is delinquent on a criminal or civil fine. Social Security benefits and certain other kinds of benefits are exempt from garnishment.
Fortunately, if you have the help of an experienced lawyer, there are many options for preventing wage garnishments or stopping a garnishment order. If a business or government agency has threatened to garnish your wages or begun garnishment proceedings, a Tampa wage garnishment lawyer with Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can help you.
One of our attorneys can meet with you to explore the available options to prevent creditors from intercepting your hard-earned income. Contact an experienced Tampa wage garnishment lawyer from Florida Law Advisers, P.A., today for a free consultation.
Why Choose Florida Law Advisers, P.A., to Assist You
Florida Law Advisers, P.A., is a full-service law firm serving clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Orlando, and throughout Central Florida. Our attorneys understand the hardship that a wage garnishment can impose and how it can damage your family’s financial stability. We work hard to provide personalized legal services that meet your unique needs when we seek to prevent or lift wage garnishments.
Our legal team seeks to provide high-quality legal representation at a reasonable cost. We understand that people who seek our help need solutions, not steep legal fees. We’re proud to have guided thousands of Tampa residents onto the road to a better future after a wage garnishment. In some cases, we can negotiate repayment terms that fit your financial abilities.
If you are threatened with a wage garnishment or your wages are being garnished, contact a wage garnishment lawyer at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., for help. Our attorneys understand wage garnishment law and have handled many garnishment cases. We will aggressively defend your rights and work to stop or end the wage garnishment.
Understanding Wage Garnishment
Having your wages garnished can cause a serious reduction in your take-home pay. Creditors with a garnishment judgment can take up to 25% of your disposable wages or an amount that doesn’t exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage. This means 25% of your weekly check for most people.
Wage garnishment can take even more if you owe:
- Child Support. If your wages are garnished for unpaid child support, the garnishment may be up to 50% of your disposable earnings. If you are not supporting a spouse or another child, the limit increases to 60% of your disposable earnings. If you are behind by more than 12 weeks, the government can add 5% to the garnishment rate.
- Federal Taxes. The IRS can garnish your wages at a rate of 25 to 50% of your disposable income, depending on your withholding rate and the number of dependents you claim.
- Student Loans. Federal agencies can garnish 15% of a debtor’s disposable wages to pay delinquent non-tax debts, such as student loan debt.
By persuading a judge to issue a court judgment to garnish wages, a private creditor can continue to attach your wages until they have collected the full amount of the debt owed.
The government does not have to see a judge and obtain a wage garnishment order to garnish your wages for unpaid income taxes, court-ordered child support, student loans, or other debt. The federal agency must simply notify your employer.
Creditors, including the government, are to notify the debtor that their wages are to be garnished. You should receive a final demand letter and then a notice from non-governmental creditors of a writ of garnishment lawsuit. The legal requirement is to send notice. There’s no requirement to confirm that you received it. In many cases, people learn their wages are being garnished when they see money missing from a paycheck.
Do I Earn Too Little for My Wages To Be Garnished?
Under Florida law, your wages cannot be garnished if you are the head of a family and provide more than half of the support for a child or other dependent.
Your wages cannot be garnished if your disposable earnings (income minus any amount required by law to be withheld, including standard deductions) are $750 a week or less. That’s about $39,000 per year after taxes and Social Security withholdings.
To benefit from either of these exemptions, you must file an affidavit with the court once you learn of a creditor’s plan to request a wage garnishment. A Tampa wage garnishment attorney with Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can help you with this filing if you qualify.
Can My Wages Be Garnished If I File for Bankruptcy?
Filing for bankruptcy is not a step to be taken lightly. It is a legal tool that may be the answer if you are dealing with overwhelming debt. Federal bankruptcy law helps people who can no longer pay their debts get a fresh start.
As soon as you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the two types of bankruptcy protection available to most individuals, your creditors will no longer be allowed to garnish your wages for most commercial debt, including credit card debt, medical bills, and utility payments. Many types of unsecured debt may be discharged with a personal bankruptcy filing.
The Tampa bankruptcy attorneys of Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can help you evaluate whether bankruptcy is appropriate in your situation and take the steps necessary to begin to manage your debt and regain your financial health. We can review your case and the options available to you in a free consultation. We are not here to push bankruptcy on you. We want to provide you with solutions.
Call Our Wage Garnishment Lawyers in Tampa
If your wages are being garnished, or you have received a final demand letter or other indications that one or more creditors are planning legal action against you, it’s time to get help with your financial problems. An experienced Tampa wage garnishment attorney with Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can explore the options available to prevent creditors from attaching your wages and get your finances back on track.