I have a case with our favorite JDB that starts with P and likes to follow people into arbitration.
I filed with JAMS about a month ago. They haven't paid anything yet that I can see, but did upload the court documents today: the warrant in debt with their affidavit, etc, my MTC, and some printout from the court showing the continuance.
The debt is in the $2K range.
I guess I should expect them to pay their portion of the fees at any time?
does your mom own a home?
If she doesn't own a home or have equity in a home, the FL homestead protects $4,000 in property (or $250,000 in home equity), cash is property so you can used this exception if she doesn't own her home or plan to.
From above link
Your personal property
If you do not claim the homestead exemption described above, you have the right to claim a personal property exemption of up to $4,000 per person . Unless the judgment creditor has a lien or security interest in the property (for example, a furniture loan), you can protect up to $4,000 of your personal belongings. Note that this exemption does not apply to child or spousal support debts.
If you own more than $4,000 worth of personal property, you can choose which property to protect. The personal property can include money held in a bank account.
Thanks, all. Great guidance and dialogue here. At the end of the day, Mom wants to settle her debt but being cleared of every dollar to her name has been devastating. Ideally, we would get the garnishment dismissed and settle the debt for less than the monies frozen and/or paid over time.
I see two potential paths that I’d like your thoughts on:
Florida statutes say that we have 20 days to complete and return an exemption form outlining what funds are exempt from garnishment. There are some categories on the form that are pretty generic like “unemployment benefits” or “life insurance proceeds” without much detailed requirements/qualifications provided. I’ve done enough research to know there is a lot of complexity around what actually can be considered exempt, but we are not hiring an attorney. I also read that if you hand deliver this form to the plaintiff, they must respond within 8 business days as opposed to the regular 14 business days if the response is by mail. The law firm representing the plaintiff is local, so it is very feasible for us to hand deliver her response in hopes of starting an uncommon accelerated response timeline. This one seems clear in the statutes that if they don’t respond in time, the writ is dissolved. What are the chances of this procedural mishaps happening and actually releasing the frozen funds?
And as for the exemption claim, what are the risks associated with taking a long shot position on some of the possible exemptions in hopes of the plaintiff not appealing/moving to a hearing? I’m guessing they could start ringing up more legal fees for their review of the exemption, court appearance, etc?
FWIW, we have offered a low ball lump sum settlement amount last week to try to leverage what little uncertainty exists between now and the 20 day period where we can claim any exemption. They do seem willing to negotiate, but I am not sure when they will actually learn of the account balances garnished.
Any further guidance here? Many thanks.