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Wage garnishment laws and exceptions in Florida

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, when creditors are not receiving payments on debts in Fort Lauderdale, they can get a court order that allows them to receive a portion of the person’s wages directly from the employer. There is a federal limit that can be garnished, and this is applied after required deductions, such as Florida state taxes. No more than 25 percent of this disposable income can be taken out of a paycheck unless the employee makes more than 30 times the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour.

Child support and alimony are not under the same guidelines. An employee who is supporting another spouse or child may have up to 50 percent of a paycheck garnished as payment for child support or alimony, or 60 percent if there are no dependents. Federal government agencies may garnish wages for debts such as taxes and student loans in default. These cannot typically be discharged in a bankruptcy, and have different limits than other wage garnishments. For example, to collect on defaulted student loans, the Department of Education may garnish up to 10 percent of a person’s disposable earnings.

Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act protects employees from being fired when they have wages garnished for one debt. However, if there are two or more separate garnishments being made for multiple debts, the employee is no longer protected. Unemployment can only exacerbate the effects of overwhelming debt. A person who is concerned that an employer may terminate employment does have legal recourse to stop wage garnishment through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Once it is filed, creditors can no longer garnish wages.

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