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State of Florida Head of Household

Tallahassee, FL |

I have been served with a writ of garnishment. It's my understanding that 100% of a person with the "Head of Household" exemption, wages are exempt. I have a 21 year old son whom lives with me, and for whom I pay 100% support, (he does not, and has not made a single dollar this year). Does this qualify me for Head of Household exemption.

Attorney Answers 2


Florida is one of the most debtor friendly states in the union. Here is a list of assets that are generally off limits to creditors (judgment holders): However, before any assets can be seized, they have to get a judgment against you.
exempt from seizure:
Annuities, 401K plan savings, IRAs, Homestead property (your primary residence)
Social security benefits, Up to $1,000 of value of personalty, such as tools and other personal property, Income of the head of the household, Certain trusts such as irrevocable trusts and spendthrift trusts, Cash surrender value of life insurance policy, Pensions and retirement and profit sharing benefits, Unemployment compensation payments, prepaid college trust fund monies and medical savings accounts., Up to $1,000 of interest in a single motor vehicle, Any ownership interest in professionally prescribed health aid for the person being sued or their children, IRS refunds, etc...While a creditors may attempt to seize assets that are exempt from seizure, you should seek and attorney to intervene. Most likely, the creditor will request a deposition in aid of execution (typically judgments of 5k or more). You should advise through affidavit that the you claim head of household and substantiate this status via tax returns, and other supporting docs. Again, you should do this through counsel.

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This isn't really a bankruptcy question. The issue is whether or not your 21 year old son qualifies as a dependent under Florida law so that you can claim "head of family" status and the exemption from garnishment found in F.S.77.041 and FS 222.11, which says, "'Head of family' includes any natural person who is providing more than one-half of the support for a child or other dependent."

Now read this excerpt from a bankruptcy court in the Middle District of Florida:

"A person qualifies as a dependent under §222.11 if that person’s income is insufficient
to sustain him or her without the support of the person claiming him or her as a dependent. In
re Parker, 147 B.R. 810 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1992). Allowing Debtor to claim Mrs. Beckmann as
a dependent to establish his entitlement to an exemption pursuant to §222.11 would permit
Debtor to use the exemption as a sword merely to defeat the claims of creditors. It would also
undermine the purpose of the statute: to prevent the family from becoming a public charge.
Killian v. Lawson, 387 So.2d 960 (Fla. 1980)."

In otherwords, that court found that without the support of the claimant, the defendant would have to go on welfare. It goes on to say that Florida's definition of who is a dependent is rather murky. Read the case here:

In order to claim the exemption you have to file an affidavit which can be found in Florida Statute 77.041. Look it up on Google read the statute carefully and copy the affidavit. (Maybe the clerk of the court has a pre-printed "Garnishment Exemption Affidavit." And you will need to have a hearing in front of the judge. If you can afford an attorney you should get one.

I think you have a case. Hope this is a better answer to your question. Good Luck.

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