One effective way to collect on a debt owed to your business is to seek a writ of garnishment. This is a court order to third parties such as employers and banks to place a hold on or seize assets belonging to the debtor.
Garnishments are most often associated with wages. This type of writ is known as a continuing writ because it orders a portion of the debtor’s paycheck to be taken until the debt is paid. The debtor (defendant) is required to be notified of a writ of garnishment.
In the notice, the debtor is informed that under Florida and federal law, “certain wages, money, and property, even if deposited in a bank, savings and loan, or credit union, may not be taken to pay certain types of court judgments. Such wages, money, and property are exempt from garnishment.”
Debtors may be able to file an exemption claim
Debtors can do this by filing a Claim of Exemption and Request for Hearing within 20 days. So what kinds of assets can a person seek to exempt? These include the following:
- Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
- Veterans’ benefits
- Public assistance payments
- Workers’ compensation
- Disability benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Retirement or pension payments
Further, if someone can show that they provide over half of the support for a child or other dependent, they can seek exemption from garnishment.
If you’re relying on a writ of garnishment to collect the money that an individual owes your business for services or products you provided, it’s important to know that not all forms of income can be garnished. In some cases, as noted here, a person’s wages can’t be garnished either. To have the best chance of getting the money you’re due, it’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance.