What Are Wage Exemptions in Florida? In the state of Florida, the head of household enjoys an unlimited amount of exemption in bankruptcy. Head of Household includes any natural person who is providing more than one-half of the support for a child or other dependent.

All of the disposable earnings of a head of family whose disposable earnings are less than or equal to $500 a week are exempt from attachment or garnishment. Disposable earnings of a head of family, which are greater than $500 a week, may not be attached or garnished unless such person has agreed otherwise in writing. In no event, however, should the amount attached or garnished exceed the amount allowed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C.A. Section 1673.

Disposable earnings of a person other than a head of family may not be attached or garnished in excess of the amount allowed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1673.

The exemption applies to wages deposited in any financial institution for 6 months if the funds can be traced and properly identified as earnings.

Courts may remove or limit exemption for payment of alimony, suit money, or child support.

A debtor who owns his or her own business CANNOT exempt funds distributed to himself or herself simply by denominating the distributions as “wages.” In re Harrison, 216 B.R. 451, 39 Collier Bankr. Cas. 2d (MB) 457 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 1997). A return on an equity investment is not exempt under the garnishment statute. Cadle Co. v. G&G Associates, 757 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. 2000). The wages exemption protects neither commissions received by an independent contractor, nor accounts receivable. However, the totality of the circumstances approach is used to determine whether the debtor’s compensation constitutes exempt “earnings” under the Florida wage exemption.

Settlement proceeds from a lawsuit related to employment agreement may be exempt from execution as wages under some circumstances, even after the settlement proceeds were paid to the judgment debtor if the debtor can properly identify the funds as earnings.

Contact Kristy Qiu, Esq., a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Lawyer, to schedule a free consultation in her offices located in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Woodbridge, New Jersey.