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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
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Experience:  Attorney and Real Estate Broker -- Retired (mostly)
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What does the head of household exemption entail in Florida

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What does the head of household exemption entail in Florida when it comes to a judgement? I understand that they can not garnish wages, but can they attach a bank account? My paycheck is direct deposited into my checking account so I am a little concerned, is the account protected? Is there anyway to pre-empt them from doing so or do I simply have to wait and react after they do anything. I have a home going into foreclosure that I am concerned over a deficiency judgement on, and if the lender gets one what my options are.

222.11 F.S.

 

(2)(a) All of the disposable earnings of a head of family whose disposable earnings are less than or equal to $500 a week are exempt from attachment or garnishment. (b) Disposable earnings of a head of a family, which are greater than $500 a week, may not be attached or garnished unless such person has agreed otherwise in writing. In no event shall the amount attached or garnished exceed the amount allowed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. s. 1673.

 

(3) Earnings that are exempt under subsection (2) and are credited or deposited in any financial institution are exempt from attachment or garnishment for 6 months after the earnings are received by the financial institution if the funds can be traced and properly identified as earnings. Commingling of earnings with other funds does not by itself defeat the ability of a head of family to trace earnings.

 

Summary: if you provide more than 1/2 support of a child or other dependent, then your wages can't be touched without your consent, and your account where wages are deposited can't be touched for six months after wages are deposited into the account.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Do I need to do anything to protect this i.e. how does my employer/bank know that I am head of household and not to allow this to happen? What is my recourse if it does? (Can I force the bank to get the funds back?) Since I keep a fairly consistent balance in my account, around a couple thousand dollars, how would anyone know if the funds had been in there for longer than 6 months?

If a creditor garnishes your account, you will get a notice from the sheriff. You'll have to file a motion with the court for an order of exemption, after which the sheriff will return the money. Meanwhile, you'll want to kill everyone for the inconvenience.

 

If you want to avoid the inconvenience, don't put your account in the bank, or alternatively, find a bank in a different jurisdiction that has no Florida branches or affiliates. Then the creditor won't be able to force the garnishment without significant added expense -- which it won't spend.

 

 

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