Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Exemptions of Earnings and Wages in Florida

"Disposable earnings," such as wages, earned by the  head of a family are exempt from creditors in Florida. This exemption includes protection from garnishment.  If a garnishment is filed on exempt earnings, a person may file an affidavit with the court and request an order stopping the garnishment.

"Head of a Family"

This statute protects the wages or disposable earnings of the "head of a family." Courts make the determination of who is the "head of family" based on the totality of the circumstances. Sometimes, the person earning the highest wages is considered the head of the family.


Florida statutes provides that "earnings" includes compensation for personal services or labor whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, or bonus.

Commissions and bonuses may constitute earnings even if the person is labeled an independent contractor if his activities are essentially a job, he is supervised, and not in the nature of running a business. But commissions have been held not to constitute earnings if the person is free to make his own business decisions and solely responsible for expenses incurred in the operation of his business. A return on an equity investment is not earnings.