A former spouse owes you an equitable distribution equalizing payment as a result of your divorce, but he or she never makes the payment, or only partially pays you. What can you do?
In a family law case, garnishment of wages and or personal property is one method of collecting debts owed to you by your former spouse. Garnishment laws may allow you to take the lesser amount of a couple things: (1) twenty-five percent of your former spouse’s disposable wages or; (2) the amount that his or her income exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage. Disposable wages are the amount of take-home pay left after deducting required deductions, like tax withholding, but not voluntary deductions. Your garnishment, much like child support and alimony payments, can be automatically withheld from your former spouse’s paycheck and sent to you by your former spouse’s employer. Your former spouse’s bank accounts can also be garnished for the monies owed to you.
Personal property can also be taken from your former spouse and given to you to satisfy an unpaid debt in a final judgment. This can get more complicated, since it requires you to take possession of the property and dispose of it before you have the money you are owed in hand.
The family law court can grant your request for garnishment if you have a final judgment awarding you a specific amount of money due to be paid by a specific date, especially if the full amount has not been paid by the required date. Your former spouse may be able to claim certain exemptions from garnishment. Contact an experienced Tampa family lawyer to discuss your right to enforce your final judgment and collect monies owed to you.