Yes, the salary, wages, bonuses and even commissions of a debtor can be garnished in Florida to satisfy an outstanding judgment, subject to certain exceptions and limitations.
The judgment creditor can have the court issue a continuing writ of garnishment under section 77.0305, Florida Statutes, which needs to be served on the debtor’s employer. You would want to follow all procedures laid out in Chapter 77, Florida Statutes, which has strict deadlines.
The employer is required to pay the creditor a portion of these funds as they become payable until either the judgment becomes satisfied or the garnishment gets dissolved.
Under federal law (the Consumer Credit Protection Act), a garnishment cannot exceed more than 25 percent of the debtor’s net wages or the amount that they take home per workweek that is more than 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is less.
Florida law allows the head of household exemption (also called head of family), which can prevent wage garnishment if the debtor qualifies as the head of household. A debtor is head of household if they are providing more than half the support for a child or dependent.
Keep in mind that the debtor must specifically claim this head of household exemption in the legal proceedings or it can be waived.
Sometimes, lenders will require a borrower to waive this protection when taking out a loan. Florida only allows a waiver for disposable earnings greater than $750 per week and if the debtor gave the required written permission under section 222.11, Florida Statutes.
When head of household wages are placed into a bank account, they still retain their protection from collection for six months.
Even with this exemption, it does not get rid of the debt. An aggressive attorney has many other ways to collect upon the judgment. The debt would just not be allowed to be taken from wages, if head of household is property claimed.