The answer to “Can a Credit Card Company Garnish Wages in Florida?” is yes, and this is what comes from ignoring all the other attempts by a credit card company to settle your debt. Many card companies are more willing to work with their debtors in light of COVID, but you also have to be honest with them and yourself about what your financial circumstances truly are. Garnishment is the last resort for many companies because it costs them money. They have to weigh the likelihood of repayment versus the amount of debt and the cost of filing for garnishment. It’s easy to curl up and hope that this all goes away, but that is not going to happen.
A creditor can’t simply decide to garnish wages and do it overnight – there is a process that must adhere to Florida Title 6, Civil Practice and Procedure: Chapter 77. It is the right of any entity whether a natural person or corporation, company, or other commercial entity, that has sued to recover a debt to be awarded a writ of garnishment. This is a process that can take months or even years until the judgement is rendered, the debt confirmed, and the writ issued. Now, the debtor is supposed to be notified as per 77.041, but that means being served with the notice of garnishment – it may be served to you at your place of work, or if you have moved in the interim the server may have just shoved it under the door of your old address and called it good.
However, even with a judgement and writ in hand, all is not lost. You, as a judgement debtor, have recourse under the same law that gave your credit card company the right to garnish wages. You may even be able to recover the money they garnished! Admittedly, it is complicated, and you’ve got some paperwork to do, filings to make, and court appearances, but is it worth it to stop the hardship that the garnishment will cause?
The first step to protecting your wages – and other property or assets – from garnishment is by knowing your rights. The most important thing to know is what exemptions to use to protect your wages.
Certain forms of income are also exempt from garnishment including –
The law is a licensed profession for a reason, and it’s hard to work the ins and outs of the legal system unless you’ve been trained to do it. The Florida Bar gives a thumbnail how-to which includes the wonderful news that you’re not going to know your wages have been garnished until after the fact – then and only then can you file for your exemptions. Your creditor does have to send you a copy of the judgement, the answer filed by your employer or your bank, and what your rights are to try and stop or reverse the garnishment.
Having fun yet?
Nobody can blame you because the courts are a scary place when all you have on your side is Google.
Garnishments and judgements are often a big sign that debt is out of control. If you had the money, you’d have paid the bill and this wouldn’t be an issue. However, getting trapped in debt just takes one disaster, one medical emergency, loss of a job, or other circumstance to start the cycle. You put your groceries and gas on a credit card, take out a payday loan to cover the last bit of the rent, use Care Credit to pay for a vet bill for a beloved pet – and end up digging in deeper. It’s easy to get in over your head, even people that you wouldn’t think could be in debt come to the same place you are – garnishments, judgements, and even bankruptcy. It can feel overwhelming, depressing, destabilizing as you try to live from week to week, and despite your best efforts you still come up short.
It’s not the end of the world. What everyone in debt needs is good advice and someone who knows the law. In other words – you need an attorney that specializes in debtor’s law. You might benefit from bankruptcy and the automatic stay that would stop not only the garnishment, but all collection actions against you. You need an attorney that will find every exemption that you can use – and even attempt to get back money already removed from your check. But most of all, you need an advocate, someone who will fight for your rights inside the legal system to get you the help and relief you need.
This is what Van Horn Law Group is here for and you can depend on us!
Since 2009, we have served South Floridians experiencing debt. We have lots of options to offer you, ranging from bankruptcy, debt negotiation, and other methods to help you get debt under control. If you are facing wage garnishment and need to get your finances in order, call us for a free initial consultation at any of our area offices – Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach. Our experienced staff and attorneys can help to give you a soft landing during hard times. Make that appointment today!
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