The Head of Family Exemption to Wage Garnishment in Florida
The subject for examination today centers on an important facet of wage garnishment laws in Florida – the head of family exemption. Before diving into the details of the head of family exemption, it will be useful to review the backdrop of wage garnishment laws in Florida.
What is the Definition of Wage Garnishment in Florida?
Often referred to legally as wage attachment, wage garnishment is a legal process to aid in the collection of debt. If a debtor – a party that borrowed – fails to pay back their creditor – a party that loaned – then wage garnishment can help the creditor recover the debt. Most generally, wage garnishment occurs as a court order, instructing an employer to hold back a portion of an employee’s paycheck. Then the employer must send the withheld payment to the creditor directly.
Switching gears from the definition of wage garnishment, the following section will provide Florida’s legal definitions for “head of family” and “disposable income.”
How Does Florida Define Head of Family and Disposable Income
Florida law defines a “head of family” as any person who covers at least 50 percent of support payments for a dependent family member.
Florida law defines “disposable income” as the amount of earnings that remain after required tax and other deductions.
Having covered key definitions for head of family and disposable income, the next section will define Florida’s exemption to standard wage garnishment processes.
What is the Florida Head of Family Exemption to Wage Garnishment?
Florida Statute 222.11 provides an exemption to standard wage garnishment laws for a head of family and under specific conditions. There are two major branches of the head of family exemption in Florida.
The first branch of this exemption concerns a head of family whose disposable income is $750 per week or less. In those cases, the head of family is exempt from wage garnishment or other attachment.
The second branch of this exemption concerns a head of family whose disposable income is more than $750 per week. In those cases, the head of family must agree to wage garnishment in writing. Florida laws provide strict guidelines for such writings, requiring that the waiver:
- Mirror the same language as the overarching contract;
- Attach to the overarching contract as a separate document;
- Appear in 14-point font or larger; and
- State in plain terms that debtor wishes to waive the head of family exemption.
Florida Statute 222.11 also provides a standard disclaimer for use in waivers of the head of family exemption. In order to be effective, the waiver must include signatures from both the debtor and creditor.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you are facing wage garnishment as a head of household in Florida, it can be expedient to consult with a trusted employment attorney. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Penichet Law in Miami, Florida for help with your case.