Garnishment is a collection remedy in Florida that can be used to collect on support arrearage debts. If your spouse is employed, an income withholding order is usually entered, triggering automatic payroll deductions for support owed. But what if your former spouse doesn’t have an employer? You may be searching for a way to collect your past due support.
Garnishment of your former spouse’s bank account and/or seizure of his or her personal assets in an amount sufficient to satisfy the debt may be your answer. You can ask the family law court to order such garnishment as long as you have a court order setting the amount of the arrearage. Social Security, Veteran’s benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits are subject to garnishment for alimony and child support under federal law. This means that these funds can be garnished to collect alimony, child support and any arrears. Pension and other retirement accounts are not subject to normal garnishment proceedings. However, these funds may be accessed through entry of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) by the family law court for payment of support arrearages.
Your former spouse may defend against your garnishment by claiming certain exemptions to the garnishment. It is helpful to understand these exemptions beforehand to be sure that seeking a court ordered garnishment is worth the time and expense involved in any court action. It is also helpful to consider whether your former spouse’s personal assets are held jointly with someone else or individually. 0oConsulting with an experienced family lawyer can help you understand your right to seek garnishment for support arrearages.