What you should do depends on what your goals are and your situation. Unfortunately, even while you are in prison the state treats your obligation to support your children the same and it does accrue during incarceration.
If it is a levy for purposes of garnishing the owed child support that accrued while you were incarcerated then you need to respond promptly to claim any potential exceptions to the garnishment/levy that might be available to you.
Florida Statutes protect the head of household from wage garnishment. Unless the head of household makes more than $500 a week and has not consented in writing to have their wages garnished, he/she is exempt. Income over $500 may still be garnished.
Further, if you are a non-custodial parent and are providing more than 50 percent support for your current dependents that are not included in the court order and you do not owe arrears, no more than 50 percent of your disposable income can be garnished. Your disposable income is your gross income minus mandatory deductions required by law, such as federal and state taxes. This amount can increase up to 60 percent if you are not supporting a current spouse or child. And if you are in arrears on the original child support order, an additional 5 percent may be garnished.
When threatened with garnishment, it's a good idea to seek legal help from a local attorney near you (I suggest calling local attorneys to find attorneys that offer free initial consultations). There are ways in which to attack a garnishment, such as by challenging the judgment on which it is based. If the judgment had been fully litigated, there is usually little that can be done to challenge it on its "merits"-e.g. to challenge whether it is a valid debt or whether debtor owes the creditor money.
However, if the judgment was rendered improperly, such as by "default" when the debtor never actually received notice of being sued, there may be grounds to have it set aside. Similarly, it may be possible to attack the underlying debt as too old if it had not been litigated in time (based on the statute of limitations). It may also be possible to attack the garnishment itself as too old, but Florida's long statute of limitations for enforcing Florida judgments makes this difficult.
Another possibility is to show that the calculation of the debtor's disposable income is too high, and therefore that the amount garnished has to be reduced. Showing that much of debtor's income comes from exempt sources is a key part of this. Since Florida is at least as generous-if not more-than most other states in regards XXXXX XXXXX types of income, it is a good idea to look into this.
If you determine that you need a local child support attorney (as I suggest that you do in order to take full advantage of any possible exemptions in Florida) then you can use the following link to select your area in Florida and the website will provide you with contact information for attorneys near you:
It is important that you respond to the levy/garnishment notice before the deadline and, ideally, with local legal help unless you feel comfortable representing yourself.
I hope this has helped your understanding of the situation. Please let me know if you need me to further clarify and I will do my best to so clarify. Thank you and good luck!
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