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Thelawman2
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Experience:  Attorney-at-Law
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I have a court order against me from a California court where

Customer Question

I have a court order against me from a California court where I used to live. The order is for 42K. I have been living in Florida for the past 3 1/2 years and my employer main office is in Vernon Hills, IL. The company that got the court order recently placed a garnishment on my wages. I know that Florida has a law that prevents wage garnishments against head of households. How can I get this protection when the court order is from California and my employer is in Illinois?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.

Thelawman2 :

Under Florida law, a head-of-household may be able to claim an exemption from garnishment by filing an Affidavit and Claim of Exemption form with the Clerk of Court located in the county where the judgment was entered. (A different procedure may apply to stop a garnishment that has already been granted.) Once the affidavit and exemption forms are completed and notarized, the documents must be filed with the Clerk of Court, and copies served on the plaintiff who holds the judgment. If the judgment holder objects to the claim of exemption within two to seven days, depending upon the form of service that is used, then a hearing will be scheduled. The purpose of a hearing is to allow the debtor an opportunity to prove their status as head-of-household, and their right to claim the exemption. The failure of the plaintiff to object within this time frame will typically result in the garnishment being stopped, without the need for a hearing.

Thelawman2 :

Know though that the exemption applies only if a person makes $500 or less per week in net wages, and the person is a head of family. A head of family is a person who provides more than one-half of the support for a child or other person. Wages in a bank account that belong to a head of family retain their protection from being seized for six months even if the wages are mixed with money from other sources.

If you agree in writing to allow wages to be taken to pay the debt, and you make more than $500 per week, you will not get this exemption. If a head of family does not agree in writing to allow the garnishment or attachment of wages, all the wages are exempt. You must file an affidavit with the court to declare your head of family status and protect your wages from being taken.

Customer :

The court order is from California. Can I still claim the exemption in Florida? If so, which court should I file it on?

Thelawman2 :

Did you ever receive a notice regarding the garnishment from a Florida court? If so, then you had 20 days from receiving that notice to challenge the garnishment, the applicable law is F.S.A. § 77.031. You would file the exemption request with the court from where the notice came from.

Customer :

No never received notice of any kind

Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.
Did you ever receive a notice regarding the garnishment from a Florida court? If so, then you had 20 days from receiving that notice to challenge the garnishment, the applicable law is F.S.A. § 77.031. You would file the exemption request with the court from where the notice came from.
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.
A notice should have been sent to you regarding the garnishment. Therefore, the garnishment did not follow proper procedures and is invalid. Because the garnishment is occurring in Illinois though, you would have to bring a lawsuit there saying that the garnishment is invalid or bring it to your employer's attention to stop the garnishment. The Illinois statute governing notice is IL ST CH 735 § 5/12-705.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

So, there is nothing I can do in a Florida court?

Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.
Since the garnishment is in Illinois, you will have to go to Illinois to stop it. You could seek a declaratory judgment in Florida that says you should be exempted from the wage garnishment and then take that to your employer or to a state court in Illinois.

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