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Florida Family & Bankruptcy Attorneys » Orlando Wage Garnishment Attorney

Orlando Wage Garnishment Attorney

wage-garnishment.jpgLiving 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 attorney 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.

What Are Florida’s Wage Garnishment Laws?

According to state law, a wage garnishment occurs when a court issues a garnishment writ to a debtor’s employer to secure a portion of their earnings. The garnished wages will be payment for outstanding debt to a creditor. Garnishment can be applied to earnings such as:

  • Commissions
  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Hourly wages
  • Other types of employee compensation

Independent contractors are not subject to garnishment under state law.

Creditors attempting to collect unpaid bills or balances must follow strict laws. Initiating or continuing wage garnishment requires creditors to meet various conditions, including meeting specific deadlines and providing the debtor with adequate notice under specific circumstances.

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Can Debt Consolidation Stop Wage Garnishment?

You might be able to stop the garnishment by acquiring a debt consolidation loan. A debt consolidation loan is a loan used to combine multiple debts and replace those monthly payments with one payment to the debt consolidation company.

A debt consolidation loan is a common type of unsecured personal loan. That means you’re not required to use your assets as collateral to secure the loan. Typically, the interest rate is at a fixed amount, so you’re not subject to higher

Are There Exemptions to Florida Wage Garnishments?

Yes. A creditor can’t garnish your wages if you are the head of your household and your weekly disposable earnings are less than or equal to $750. However, you must claim the head-of-family exemption by filing an affidavit with the court after the creditor informs you of their wage garnishment request.

You are eligible for a head-of-family exemption if you provide more than half the support for a child or another dependent.

A federal government agency that initiates garnishments to collect judgments for debts owed to government entities doesn’t qualify for exemptions. The Federal Trade Commission, the Small Business Administration, and other federal agencies can pursue an administrative wage garnishment to collect up to 25 percent of the debtor’s wages.

Can I Stop Garnishment Without Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy isn’t the only available option to stop wage garnishment. You might prevent a creditor from garnishing your wages with methods such as:

  • Claim of Exemption – You can file a claim of exemption with the court requesting the creditor to partially or completely stop pursuing garnishment.
  • Negotiate a Settlement – Creditors often prefer a lump sum payment instead of recovering the past due amount in smaller payments over months or years. You might be in an excellent position to negotiate to settle the debt for less than you owe if you can pay the agreed-upon lump sum amount.
  • File an Objection – Your employer will receive a copy of the order if you don’t respond to the initial notice the creditor sends you, and the court issues a garnishment order. To stop the garnishment, you must file a written objection with the court and request a hearing. The notice you receive might include a form you can complete to request a hearing. Otherwise, you can write your own objection and hearing request.
  • Continue Negotiations – You can negotiate with the creditor for a settlement or another resolution to your unpaid debt, even if they have already started the wage garnishment. Your circumstances might change, allowing you to settle for a lump sum or pay more monthly under a repayment plan.

For a FREE Consultation, Call 1(800) 990-7763

How an Orlando Lawyer Can Help with Wage Garnishment
How an Orlando Lawyer Can Help with Wage Garnishment

An Orlando wage garnishment attorney from Florida Law Advisers, P.A. has the experience and resources to assist you whether the creditor already began garnishing your wages or has just notified you of the upcoming garnishment.

We will start by determining whether you qualify for a head-of-family exemption or another exemption. If you qualify, we can file the affidavit to prevent or stop the garnishment.

The creditor might have to file a lawsuit and receive court approval before they can garnish your wages. We can help you file an answer to the complaint. If the judge issues an order for the garnishment, we could be able to reduce the owed amount.

If you want to avoid court proceedings after receiving notice of the potential garnishment, we can help you negotiate with the creditor. A settlement could lower your obligation below the amount you originally owed.

Sometimes, bankruptcy is the most beneficial option to resolve debts and restore financial security. We at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can advise you of the available options and determine whether Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy can meet your needs. Bankruptcy issues an automatic stay, meaning all collections actions must stop, including wage garnishment.

How Long Does Wage Garnishment Last?
How Long Does Wage Garnishment Last?

Typically, wage garnishment ends in any of these scenarios:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges the debt
  • You pay the owed amount
  • The court approves your request to stop the garnishment
  • You negotiate a settlement with the creditor
  • You obtain a repayment plan to pay some or all of the debt by filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Can I Negotiate a Wage Garnishment?
Can I Negotiate a Wage Garnishment?

Negotiating a wage garnishment with your creditor might be possible. Creditors would rather recover the money owed to them by a debtor than pursue other options. They might be willing to negotiate with you, especially if garnishing your wages will give them less than you owe.

You should prepare before your conservation with the creditor. Establish a compelling and convincing argument and gather evidence to prove that garnishment will significantly affect your finances. If the creditor agrees not to proceed with garnishment, they might accept a settlement for one lump sum payment or offer an affordable repayment plan.

Contact an Orlando Wage Garnishment Lawyer Today

Discovering that a creditor intends to garnish your wages or has already started the process is stressful. Pulling yourself out of debt is a time-consuming and overwhelming experience. You might think you have no choice but to accept what’s happening.

However, there are always options. Let Florida Law Advisers, P.A., protect your rights and find ways to defend you against wage garnishment. Call or contact us online for a free consultation with a trusted Orlando bankruptcy lawyer today.

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