Jacksonville Wage Garnishment Lawyer
Protect Your Paycheck With Help From a Florida Debt Relief Attorney
One of the more unpleasant possible outcomes of getting behind on payments to a debt collector is wage garnishment. Garnished wages impact your ability to pay your bills, cover your normal expenses, and save money for the future. Wage garnishment has the potential to result in negative impacts on your financial well-being. Wage garnishment involves having your take-home pay reduced by as much as 25%, which is directly given to your creditors.
With wages garnished, it can be very difficult to pay your monthly bills, which can put you even further behind financially. Do not wait to speak with an experienced Jacksonville attorney who can help you avoid wage garnishment. If you are facing desperate financial times, finding yourself underwater, or are heading toward bankruptcy, our Jacksonville wage garnishment lawyers can guide you through each process and help you obtain financial relief.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a legal process by which a creditor can attach your wages directly, rather than waiting for you to pay your monthly bill. The creditor must obtain a legal judgment from a court, which they will then send to your employer. Your employer is then required to withhold a certain percentage of your wages each pay period and send that amount directly to the creditor. Garnishable wages include salary, hourly wages, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of compensation.
Florida Wage Garnishment Limitations
Creditors are not permitted to swoop in and steal a debtor’s entire paycheck. The State of Florida has many limits on the amount that a creditor can take out of your wages. Although Florida follows the federal laws, for the most part, the state also has additional exemptions. Typically, creditors who have judgments can take a maximum of 25 percent of a debtor’s wages. Additional limitations may apply depending on a debtor’s income. For instance, if a debtor’s disposable (after-tax) income is less than 30 times the federal minimum wage, then their wages cannot be garnished at all.
Most creditors must obtain a judgment from the court before they can have your wages garnished. There are exceptions, however. For example, the government can start garnishing your wages to recover back taxes before obtaining a court judgment. Additionally, debt related to student loans and child support can be collected via wage garnishment without a court order. The 25 percent limitation also does not apply to tax debts or child support. As much as 60 percent of your wages could be attached for child support, under appropriate circumstances.
Defending Against Wage Garnishment
Depending on your financial circumstances, and with the help of a knowledgeable wage garnishment attorney, you might be able to prevent wage garnishment before it starts. Most creditors must obtain a judgment from a court before starting to garnish your wages. Before they obtain a judgment, you can reach out and attempt to settle your debt with the creditor.
You may also have an exemption from garnishment under Florida law, depending on your income, your circumstances, and the nature of the debt. You can object to the garnishment in court based on the exemption, and if you have sufficient supporting documentation and make a convincing argument, the court might not order garnishment or may withdraw an existing garnishment order. Speak with a debt relief attorney to discuss whether you qualify for an exemption from garnishment under Florida law.
Stopping Wage Garnishment Through Bankruptcy
If your wages are being garnished, you have several defense options available. One of the quickest and more surefire ways to stop wage garnishment is by filing for bankruptcy. Filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 will trigger an automatic stay of all debt collection efforts, including wage garnishment. You will provide the bankruptcy court with a list of all of your creditors, and those creditors will receive notice of your bankruptcy filing. They will be forced to stop wage garnishment, foreclosure, repossession, and other collection efforts until the automatic stay is lifted.
Creditors whose debts are not covered by the bankruptcy, such as child support obligations, may be able to get the stay lifted, but you will gain some time to get your payments in order. Additionally, you may even be able to recover some of your wages that were garnished within 90 days before you filed if they total more than $600, and you have enough exemptions under the Florida bankruptcy laws.
Get Help From Dedicated Florida Wage Garnishment Defense Lawyers
At the Albaugh Law Firm, we are here to fight for you so that you can take control of your financial situation. We will work to have the wage garnishment removed, making sure you get to take home your entire paycheck. Contact the Jacksonville wage garnishment defense attorneys at the Albaugh Law Firm today if you need assistance resolving wage garnishment. Call us at 904-471-3434 for a free consultation with a Florida debt relief attorney.