Administrative Wage Garnishment To Collect Student Loans

A young attorney practicing in northern Florida wrote me to say that his wages were being garnished by the Department of Education to collect his law school student loans. The Department had not filed suit to collect the loan. He wants to know how they can garnish his wages without having procured first a money judgment and writ of garnishment issued by a Florida court. Continue reading

New York “Separate Entity” Rule And Writs Of Bank Garnishment

One of my client’s recently escaped garnishment of his bank account by New York creditor because of a common law principal in New York known as the “separate entity rule.” The client lived in Virginia and banked at the Virginia branch of a regional banking institution. The bank also had branches in New York City. The creditor obtained a writ of garnishment through a New York court and served the writ on the bank’s New York City branch. Continue reading

Homestead Exemption and Specific Performance For Breach of Sales Contract

A caller stated that he defaulted on a contract to sell his homestead. The contract buyer sued him for specific performance seeking a court order against the seller to complete the sale. The seller asked me if the Florida homestead protection applies to the specific performance suit. The seller tells me that he read that the homestead law means that no one can force him to sell his house. Continue reading

Fraudulent Conversion of Money To Homestead in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is very hard on wealthy debtors. In a Florida Chapter 7 bankruptcy case decided last month (March) a bankruptcy court applied the 10 year look-back provided for in Section 522 of the U.S.  Bankruptcy Code to deny a homestead exemption because the court found that the home was purchased with the intent to defraud creditors. Continue reading

Is Debtor’s Copyright Exposed to Execution of Civil Judgement?

A client has a new tech company with what he describes as a valuable copyright. His ex-partner sued him in Virginia federal court and obtained a large judgment which the ex-partner domesticated in Florida. The creditor registered a judgment lien with the Secretary of State. The client is concerned that the lien attaches to the copyright and that the creditor will take the copyright to satisfy the judgement. Continue reading

Head of Household Wage Garnishment Exemption For Non-Resident Debtor

Florida Statute 222.11 prohibits a creditor from garnishing the earnings of a debtor who qualifies as head of household. Florida residents working in another state are unable to enforce this garnishment exemptions in foreign state courts because the law does not permit debtors to export Florida’s exemptions. But, is the reverse also true? Can the resident of a foreign state assert a head of household garnishment exemption in a Florida wage garnishment proceeding? Continue reading

Florida Court Lacks Jurisdiction To Seize Foreign Checking Account In Forfeiture Action

I have known clients who have opened bank accounts in other states where garnishments are more difficult. These clients have asked me whether a Florida court could issue an order garnishing the account or imposing another order concerning money in out-of-state (foreign) financial accounts. An appellate decision issued last year suggest that Florida courts lack authority to affect foreign state financial accounts. Continue reading

Florida Court Finds Jurisdiction Over Offshore LLC Membership Interest

An important rationale for offshore asset protection is effecting the removal of the debtor’s asset beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. For example, people choose to form LLCs outside the U.S. because they believe a U.S. court would not have jurisdiction over the debtor’s membership interest in order to impose a charging lien. That theory was rejected in a recent decision by a federal court in Florida. Continue reading