Florida’s Laws Are Used In A Bankruptcy Filing & These Laws Are Intended To Protect, Help & Assist You In Difficult Financial Times
Florida has long recognized the necessity to protect its citizens from “financial reverses and difficulties” (from a 1939 case). The Florida Supreme Court has explained that the purpose of such laws are to prevent the unfortunate “from being deprived of the necessaries of life … so as to protect a person or family so they shall not suffer and be left destitute and a charge upon charity” (a 1931 case).
This is important because in Florida, bankruptcy exemptions (what you retain in a bankruptcy) are governed solely by Florida exemption laws, not federal exemption laws, even though a bankruptcy filing is an entirely federal proceeding. In some ways these exemption laws are quite liberal and somewhat flexible. This is where my expertise as a Ft. Lauderdale and South Florida bankruptcy attorney is valuable, as these laws are fairly complicated and can overlap.
An example is the protection singled out for the head of a family, which protects and exempts the head of household’s wages from garnishment. A head of household is defined as a person who is providing more than half of the support for a child or other dependent(s). But Florida case law and corresponding bankruptcy law in Florida has developed a distinction between a person’s earnings as an “employee”, versus a person’s earnings as an “independent contractor”. Strictly speaking, earnings as an independent contractor cannot be exempted under the head of household law, but the bankruptcy judges do tend to look at each case on its own particular merits and facts.
While many consider it arbitrary for the courts to pick and choose which independent contractor may exempt wages, it does appear the case-by-case framework adopted by the Florida bankruptcy judges is a workable one, particularly in the fields where the employee versus independent contractor distinction is muddled and gray.
Again, this is just one, albeit good, example of why I help my clients wind their way through a bankruptcy case without problems.
If you are in over your head in debt, with no foreseeable way out, as an experienced Broward County bankruptcy attorney I am here to help. I’ve assisted many good people in my 35+ years of practice and I intend to help many more. Why not let me help you? The call is free, the advise may just be priceless to your enjoying a life again!