When you are unable to keep up with payments on a debt, the lender has the option to sue you to obtain a judgment for wage garnishment. If awarded, this will give them the power to compel your employer to withhold a portion of your income to satisfy the amount owed. Needless to say, the situation isn’t ideal, particularly since those who are struggling to make payments often do not have much disposable income.
If you have found yourself in this position, there may be a way out with the right Miami debt defense attorney on your side. If you qualify, our team can object the garnishment on your behalf.
Requirements for an Objection to Wage Garnishment
In order to successfully challenge a judgement for wage garnishment, your situation must meet one of the following legal stipulations:
- The creditor is taking more than 25 percent of your disposable income. In the state of Florida, lenders cannot garnish more than 25 percent of your disposable income, unless your disposal income is greater than 30 times the federal minimum wage, which at the time of this writing stands at $7.25 per hour. On that note, if your earnings after all legally mandated deductions are taken does not exceed this amount, no wages may be garnished by a creditor.
- You are the head of your family and do not make more than $750 per week. If this describes your situation, you can file an affidavit to block the lender from garnishing your wages.
- The creditor did not follow procedure. If you were not properly notified of the debt or a judgement was not awarded, you may have grounds for a dismissal. A Miami debt defense attorney can best determine if any steps in the process were not followed by the lender.
- Your wages are already being garnished by another lender. Florida law typically only allows for one creditor to garnish wages at a time. If the situation permits it, both lenders will be jointly held to the state’s garnishment limitations.
- You already paid or are currently paying the debt. If you have satisfied the debt or entered into a mutually agreed upon payment plan to do so, the lender should not be permitted to garnish your wages.
- You have filed bankruptcy or had the debt discharged in bankruptcy. If bankruptcy has afforded you protection from wage garnishments, this should be immediately brought to the court’s attention.
Exemptions to These Rules
There are some instances in which you will not have grounds for a objection, even if one of the aforementioned conditions have been met. For instance, if the wages are being garnished to satisfy child support payments, up to 60 percent of your income could be taken. Alternatively, lenders pursuing garnishment for student loan debts are only permitted to take 15 percent of disposable earnings, and never more than 30 times the federal minimum wage.
Additionally, for debts such as income taxes, child support and student loans, a judgement to obtain a wage garnishment may not be needed. Lenders can pursue garnishment for these debts without a court order.
If your wages are being garnished, a Miami debt defense attorney can assist you in filing a written objection and seeking a solution. To get started, call our office today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.