When is Someone Entitled to Florida’s Head of Household Exemption?
Once a creditor obtains judgment against a debtor and collection efforts begin, there are several options for collection. One of the most effective options for collection of a judgment can be garnishment of wages or bank accounts. Garnishment statutes require strict compliance; all “I”s must be dotted and all “T”s must be crossed.
While there are several exemptions, head of household is a common exemption claimed by debtors. So how does one qualify as head of household and why is this important?
Florida statute section 222.11(c ) defines “head of family” to include “…any natural person who is providing more than one-half of the support for a child or other dependent.” When a judgment debtor claims head of household or head of family, if that person does not qualify for the exemption, then his or her disposable earnings may be subject to garnishment. However, if it is determined that the person claiming the exemption is actually head of household, then his or her wages would not be subject to garnishment.
Let’s break down the definition of head of household a bit. If a single person is supporting only himself or herself, he or she would not qualify for the exemption as there is no child or other dependent involved. Sometimes the question of whether or not an individual is head of household is clear. For example, a single parent, receiving no child support or assistance from the other parent, might easily qualify for the head of household exemption. On the other hand, a single parent with shared custody of two children, may or may not qualify as head of household, depending on the specific facts of the case. Or what if a debtor is caring for and supporting a special needs or elderly adult? These questions can become more involved. The attorneys at Wetherington Hamilton, P.A. are experienced in handling this type of debt collection and related matters. Call us today at (813) 676-9082 to schedule your consultation.