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Florida Garnishment Exemption Used in Bankruptcy

Wage Garnishment in BankruptcyThe head of family exception to wage garnishment also applies in an application for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Under the statutory exemption, an individual is considered to be the head of the family when (s)he “provid[es] more than one-half of the support for a child or other dependent.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.11(1)(c). This statute allows for the head of family whose disposable earnings do no exceed the statutory amount to exempt all of his or her earnings from garnishment or attachment. Additionally, the disposable earnings of a head of family exceeding that amount may not be attached or garnished unless the individual agrees otherwise in writing, and then the amount available for garnishment is limited by 15 U.S.C. § 1673.
However, if the individual filing is only claiming a spouse as a dependent, the dependent spouse’s income must be insufficient to support him or herself without the income of the spouse claiming them. The purpose of the head of family exemption is to preserve the home and shelter for the family, so as to prevent the family from becoming a public charge.
The head of family exemption is intended to protect the family unit; therefore, when an individual filing for bankruptcy and claims the head of a family exemption, the dependent she is supporting must be receive income insufficient to independently support himself without the claimant’s income. If the claimant’s dependent is able to independently support himself, the claimant will not qualify under this exemption.

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