Wage Garnishment in Florida
The terms of a divorce are final and legally binding. When one party is in default, the courts may reconcile the deficiency to keep both people in compliance. The area that is most likely in default is child support. Wage garnishment in Florida is often the preferred method of retrieving those funds.
Other steps are sometimes taken to keep the child support regular and as ordered. Though wage garnishment is the preferred method of collecting back child support, the court can also institute collection through other means.
- Interception of tax refunds: If ordered child support payments are not current and the parent in default has a state or federal tax refund, this money can be seized and applied to the outstanding balance. The dependent tax exemption can also be ordered to the payee if unsatisfied child support payments exist.
- Worker’s compensation payments: Worker’s compensation, in effect, is the replacement of wages due to being injured on the job. When child support calculations are made, worker’s compensation is included as a possible source of income.
- Unemployment benefits: A child support order remains in effect even if they are not working, meaning they will still owe the monthly payment established by the court.
- Personal property liens: Liens can be attached to personal property until the child support obligation is satisfied.
- Additional penalties: Other penalties could be enforced as well if child support payments are in default. Penalties can include the suspension of a driver’s license, passport denial, or even the suspension of business licenses.
- Contempt of court: A judge can find the offending party to be in contempt of court for refusal to obey the court ruling of child support. This could possibly result in a fine or even jail time.
How Wage Garnishment in Florida Works
If a court order is in place, making one person legally responsible for regular child support payments, this person must abide by that court order. The law provides that their failure to do so has certain solutions for the custodial parent, including the garnishment of wages.
Collections of overdue payments
Child support has been determined by the court to cover financial support for dependent children. The amount of child support is based on Florida’s Child Support Guidelines and includes the parents’ income, custody rights, and the number of children. It is expressly for the benefit of the child. If child support payments are overdue, it is sometimes necessary for the courts to seize the funds by garnishing the wages of the paying parent. The Florida Department of Revenue has the authority to garnish up to 50-65% of the parent’s disposable income to satisfy the overdue payments.
Letter to Employer
Once the garnishment has been ordered by the court, the parent’s employer will receive a letter and a copy of the court order. The employer is required to garnish their employee’s wages in the amounts stated by the court order. The employer notifies the employee of the garnishment, giving them the opportunity to contest the garnishment or the amount of the garnishment. The Consumer Credit Protection Act strictly prohibits employers from discriminating against any employee because of a wage garnishment, meaning they can be treated no differently and cannot be fired because of the garnishment.
Wage garnishments are automatically deducted from an employee’s paycheck and the employer is obligated by law to continue the garnishment until notified that it has been modified or satisfied.
Get Legal Help
A family law attorney will advocate for the protection of the children involved in a divorce, family custody award, or child support. If you are entitled to child support and it is not being paid as ordered, you need a family law attorney who has the experience to help you get the money that you are fairly owed. If you are getting your wages unfairly garnished, or are in need of a child support modification, a family lawyer will help you get the legal support you need.