How Can I Stop Wage Garnishment in Florida?
In our recent blog post, What to Expect if You Face Wage Garnishment in Florida, we discussed the basics of wage garnishment in Florida. It included a discussion of how much of your wages can be withheld and sent to your creditors. You have a lot more options to deal with your creditors before they start garnishing your wages than if you wait. However, if that’s water under the bridge, and you are at the point where your wages are being garnished, you still have some limited options. Let’s explore the possibilities to fight wage garnishment as well as some actions you should avoid taking.
Can I Stop Wage Garnishment in Court?
If you actually owe the money, and your creditor took all the proper steps required to legally garnish your wages, there is usually not a lot you can do to object. Ask your Florida debt collection defense attorney to check whether
- The amount being withheld from your wages is correct. In Florida, only a certain amount may be garnished from your wages, and in some cases, your wages may not be garnished.
- The creditor took the correct legal steps to have your wages garnished.
Can I get an Exemption?
In some cases, you can stop wage garnishment, because you are exempt from having your wages garnished. For example, you may fall under the Florida head of household exemption.
Should I Quit My Job?
It may hardly seem worthwhile working once your employer starts withholding part of your wages. You may be tempted to quit to stop the garnishment. But quitting your job is not going to solve your dilemma. You will still owe the money. And let’s face it, all of us need to eat. So, if you get another job, your creditor is just going to petition the court to garnish your wages at your new place of employment. Not only that, but it will take longer to repay your debt, and you will accrue interest.
Should I Ask My Employer to Stop Garnishing My Wages?
It doesn’t matter how much your employer wants to accommodate you. If they are under a court order to withhold your wages and send them to your creditor, they don’t have a choice. If they don’t, they will face legal penalties. Dealing with your garnishment is a hassle for your employer. Begging your employer to stop garnishing your wages is only going to cause bad feelings.
Can I Negotiate with My Creditor?
Your Florida debt collection defense attorney may be able to approach your creditor to negotiate for a lesser amount to be taken out of your paycheck. An alternative might be agreeing to pay a lump sum settlement for less than the amount you owe. You obviously have much more leverage before your creditor has a judgment against you or a garnishment order than trying to stop wage garnishment after the fact. However, you should discuss your particular situation with your attorney.
What if I just Pay the Debt?
Usually, people whose wages are garnished are not in a position to repay a debt outright However, if you have resources and can repay the entire debt, you can stop the garnishment. Your creditor will need to file a release of garnishment with the court. If they don’t do that, your attorney can take action to force their hand assuming you have in fact paid the debt in its entirety.
One way you may be able to pay off your debt is by consolidating your debts or refinancing. But if you take out a secured loan, you will be putting the property you use to secure the loan at risk.
Is It Better if I Declare Bankruptcy?
You can normally stop garnishment as well as other collection actions if you declare bankruptcy. There are some exceptions depending on the nature of the debt. Exceptions may include child and spousal support, federal student loans and taxes.
If you are looking at years of garnished wages, you may find it worthwhile to just declare bankruptcy and start with a clean slate. A good Florida bankruptcy attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy in your particular situation.
Call Us if Your Wages Subject to Garnishment
If you want to stop wage garnishment, contact Ziegler Diamond Law: Debt Fighters for a free consultation by submitting this form. We practice both debt collection defense and bankruptcy law. Or just call us directly at (727) 538-4188 in Clearwater, (813) 225-3111 in Tampa or (352) 600-1326 in Mt. Dora.