Head of Household Protection, Part 2
I hope you all had a great week. Last week, we introduced Florida’s important head-of-household protection against wage and bank account garnishments.
This week, I would like to discuss some steps you can take if you find yourself the subject of a wage or bank account garnishment and you are the financial head of your household.
Probably the most important thing to know is that you only have 20 calendar days to file your claim of head-of-household exemption with the Court and to mail a copy to the attorney for the creditor. This 20 calendar days begins to run from the date you receive written notice of the garnishment and your right to file your claim for the head-of-household exemption. If you do not file your claim of head-of-household within 20 days, your claim of head-of-household will most likely be denied and the garnishment will most likely become final.
If you file a timely claim for the head-of-household exemption, the judge will most likely schedule the matter for a hearing. At this hearing, you have the opportunity to testify about why you believe you are the financial head of the household and to bring any supporting financial documents. You must prove that you provide more than one-half support for a dependent to qualify for the head-of-household exemption. If the Court finds that you qualify, an order will be entered dissolving the garnishment and returning any garnished monies to you.
If the Court finds that you failed to meet your burden of proving that are the head of your household, the Court would most likely deny your claim and enter a Final Judgment in Garnishment, allowing the garnishment to become final.
Within 14 business after your claim of head-of-household was served by mail, the creditor’s attorney must file a sworn reply to your claim of exemption. Failure of the creditor’s attorney to do should create an additional basis to seek dissolution of the garnishment.
When the creditor begins a garnishment proceeding, the creditor’s attorney is required to mail you a notice of your rights to seek the head-of-household exemption. The notice you receive should include a standard form to claim the exemption and to request a hearing. If it does not, this may form yet another basis to seek dissolution of the garnishment. All of this information can be found in Chapter 77, Florida Statutes, which can be read here.
I hope you have found this information to be helpful.
We are archiving all of our newsletters, so if any of you would like to review any of the previous newsletters, you can read them by clicking here.
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.
Ryan Torrens, Consumer Litigation Attorney
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