How a writ of Garnishment in Florida works?

Understanding The Writ Of Garnishment In Florida: A Guide For Debtors And Creditors

  • By:Paul A Humbert

In Florida, creditors can use a Writ of Garnishment to obtain the money you owe them. Here’s how it works: if the money you’re supposed to receive from other parties, such as banks or your employer, is still in their possession, the Writ grants the creditor the right to collect that money instead. However, it’s not only the person you owe who needs to understand this process – you also play a crucial role in its understanding because Florida’s laws are designed to protect you.

By familiarizing yourself with the intricacies of the Writ of Garnishment in Florida, you can navigate your financial challenges while safeguarding your rights and assets. At the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., we understand the importance of providing you with the knowledge and support necessary to navigate this complex process effectively

This blog article is your guide to understanding the essentials of the Writ of Garnishment in Florida. We will shed light on its purpose, procedures, and the rights and responsibilities of debtors and creditors. We aim to empower you with the knowledge and insights to navigate this legal process confidently and protect your interests.

We are dedicated to providing trusted legal guidance and representation at the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. As you delve into understanding the Writ of Garnishment in Florida, remember that we are here to assist you every step. Let’s navigate your financial disputes together and achieve the best possible outcome.

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At Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., our singular focus is our clients.

Writ Of Garnishment In Debt Collection: Understanding Its Role And Florida Laws

A Writ of Garnishment is a key tool used in debt collection. Issued by the court, a Writ of Garnishment essentially allows an individual’s wages, bank accounts, or other property to be seized to satisfy a debt. This document enables an employer or other third party to collect on behalf of the creditor. 

When a court issues a Writ of Garnishment in Florida, it orders an employer (thus referred to as the ‘garnishee’) to withhold a portion of the debtor’s salary or wages until the debt is paid off. It’s essential to note that the wage garnishment procedure is executed as per Florida Statute 77.03. The law says that if some of the debtor’s property has to be used to pay off their debts according to the garnishment, they can say that some of it should be left out or protected because of certain laws.

Service Of The Writ

The service of the writ is conducted by the Clerk of the Court, outlining the debt amount. Florida law states that a copy of the writ must be sent to the debtor and their employer. In most cases, the writ is served on the garnishee, the debtor’s employer. After the writ is served, the garnishee has 20 days to respond, and they must file a sworn written statement that contains the debtor’s information. 

The garnishee’s answer will state whether or not the debtor is an employee and what will be withheld from the salary or wages. If the garnishee does not respond within 20 days after service, the court, through a clerk or otherwise provided by court order, may render judgment by default against them.

Claiming Exemption From Garnishment

Upon issuance of the writ, the debtor likewise has the right to contest wage garnishment in Florida. They can file a motion to dissolve the garnishment within 20 days of the issuance of the writ. If plausible, the court will review the motion, dissolve the writ, and notify the parties involved. Debtors can also submit a form for a claim of exemption and request for hearing if they believe they qualify for an exemption from garnishment.

In some cases, the court may issue a continuing writ of garnishment. This implies that the warrant continues until the entire debt and all costs and interest are paid. Under Florida law, the writ of garnishment shall issue for a debtor’s salary for a time not exceeding 90 days unless extended by the court order.

Procedures And Steps In Applying For Writ Of Garnishment In Florida

To start with the Writ of Garnishment in Florida you have to obtain a court judgement.

Navigating the garnishment process in Florida requires a keen understanding of the necessary procedures and timeframes. Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to file a Writ of Garnishment in Florida, highlighting the necessary forms and deadlines during the process.

Step 1: Obtaining A Judgment

To initiate the writ garnishment process in Florida, the creditor must first obtain a court judgment against the debtor. This document signifies that the court acknowledges the legitimacy of the debt. A creditor can then request the court to issue a Writ of Execution.

Step 2: Requesting The Writ Of Garnishment

After obtaining a judgment, the creditor can file a Motion for the Writ of Garnishment. Florida law mandates that this motion includes facts about the judgment and details of the debtor and their property, including wages. The courts shall determine the granting of the writ based on the presented information.

Step 3: Issuance Of The Writ

Once the court approves the creditor’s motion, the writ is issued, commanding the garnishee (typically an employer) to withhold a portion of the debtor’s wages. The court’s office has to give the person who owes money a copy of the garnishment papers and a form to say their money should be protected. They must do this within five days after the garnishment starts.

Step 4: Serving The Writ

As per Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure, service of the writ shall be made on the garnishee, either in person or by mail. This act officially informs the garnishee of their obligations under the writ execution.

Step 5: Responding To The Writ

Upon receiving the writ, the garnishee must respond within 20 days by filing a sworn written statement or answer with the court. The answer shall state whether the debtor is an employee and the wages to withhold. They must also mail a copy of the answer to the debtor.

Step 6: Handling Exemptions

If the debtor believes they are exempt from garnishment, they can file a form for the claim of exemption within 20 days of receiving the writ’s copy. The court will then schedule a hearing to determine if the exemption applies. This motion can be filed at any time during the process. The court will resolve the writ and notify the parties involved if the debtor’s claim for exemption from garnishment is satisfied.

Step 7: Providing Compensation

If no exemptions apply, the employer will deduct the appropriate amount from the debtor’s wages per the writ’s guidelines. These deducted wages should be submitted to the court, which will distribute them to the creditor.

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Responsibilities And Obligations Of Creditors

Creditors pursuing a Writ of Garnishment in Florida can collect on debts owed to them, but this power comes with certain responsibilities and obligations. Hiring a good law firm can help you stand out. 

Initiating The Garnishment Process

To begin garnishment, creditors must obtain a court judgment against the debtor. Following this, they must file a motion for a Writ of Garnishment. This motion must clearly state the details of the judgment, the debtor’s property or wages, and other relevant information. The issuance of the writ is contingent on the courts approving the creditor’s motion.

Notification To The Debtor

Within five business days after the writ is issued, creditors must provide the debtor with a copy, a form for a claim of exemption, and a notice advising the debtor about their legal rights. This guarantees that the debtor has sufficient information to make informed decisions, such as filing a claim for exemption from garnishment or contesting the garnishment.

Responding To Claims Of Exemption

Florida law entitles debtors to file a claim of exemption if they believe they are exempt from garnishment. Creditors have the responsibility to respond to these claims in a timely manner. Within 20 days of receiving the debtor’s claim, creditors must file a motion to dissolve the garnishment if they wish to dispute it. This ensures that debtors’ claims for exemption are fairly considered and appropriately addressed.

Compliance With State And Federal Laws

Creditors must comply with Florida and federal consumer protection laws during garnishment. They must respect the limitations on wage garnishments set forth by the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) and abide by any applicable exemptions from garnishment under Florida law.

Dissolution Of Garnishment

Should the debtor resolve their debt or the garnishment be found invalid, creditors must dissolve the writ of garnishment within 20 days. Creditors must notify the debtor, garnishee, and the court of the garnishment’s termination, ensuring a formal conclusion to the process.

Debtor’s Exemptions From Garnishment

Debtors who meet certain criteria can claim exemptions. For instance, Florida law protects the following types of income from being garnished:

  • Social Security Benefits,
  • Unemployment compensation,
  • Public assistance benefits (e.g., welfare or food stamps),
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Disability benefits
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Retirement or pension benefits

If the debtor believes they are exempt from garnishment, they can file a form for the claim of exemption within 20 days of receiving the writ’s copy. The court will then schedule a hearing to determine whether the exemption from garnishment applies.

Faqs About Writ Of Garnishment In Florida

Understanding and navigating through a Writ of Garnishment can often feel overwhelming. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers to help clarify the process of a Writ of Garnishment in Florida.

  1. Can All Of My Wages Be Garnished In Florida?

No. Under Florida law, there are limitations to the amount of wage garnishment. For instance, only 25% of your disposable income, or the amount by which your weekly earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage, can be garnished. This helps protect workers from overly invasive garnishments.

  1. How Can I Stop A Writ Of Garnishment In Florida?

You may stop a Writ of Garnishment by paying off the debt, proving that the debt is not owed, filing a claim of exemption, or negotiating an agreement with your creditor. If you claim an exemption, you must file the form within 20 days of receiving the writ.

  1. How Long Does A Writ Of Garnishment Last In Florida?

In Florida, a Writ of Garnishment generally lasts until the debtor’s obligation is fully paid or until the court orders it to be stopped. This duration might vary depending on the case’s specific details.

  1. What Happens If I Ignore A Writ Of Garnishment In Florida?

Ignoring a Writ of Garnishment may have severe consequences, such as additional garnishments or property seizure. It is crucial to take immediate action, even if you believe the garnishment is unjust.

  1. What If I Can’t Afford To Pay The Full Debt?

If you find it challenging to meet the financial obligations of the writ of garnishment in Florida, it’s essential to communicate with the creditor. Some creditors might be willing to negotiate a payment plan or accept a lesser amount to settle the debt.

In conclusion, garnishment cases can vary drastically based on unique circumstances; therefore, professional advice is invaluable. This knowledge will enable you to navigate garnishment-related disputes with greater confidence and preparedness. However, remember that your unique situation may necessitate consulting with a legal professional for personalized guidance.

Posted in: Creditors Rights, Garnishment, Professional Lawyers, Writs of garnishment