Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
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.
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.
The court order is from California. Can I still claim the exemption in Florida? If so, which court should I file it on?
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.
No never received notice of any kind
So, there is nothing I can do in a Florida court?
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).