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Robert N. Heath, P.A.
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If you have credit card debt, you still have property rights

It is scary to face losing your home. But if you own your home, creditors cannot take it. If you have a lien or mortgage on your home then it depends on the lender. What you can keep also depends on whether you live in an incorporated or unincorporated area. If you live in the former, you can keep your home and up to a half an acre of land. If you live in the latter, you can keep your home and up to 160 acres of land.

You may be in judgment by the court after accruing credit card debt, and this can be daunting and stressful. But, having to repay debt doesn't mean you lose all your rights. There are exceptions in Florida debt law that can help protect your property.

There is a chance you may not qualify for these home exemptions. But, you still have the option of getting exemptions for personal property. First, child or spousal support debts don't apply to personal property exemption. Furthermore, you have the right to claim up to $4,000 of property per person. But, if there is a creditor who owns part of the property, it is up to the creditor to decide what happens next.

You may be wondering about property that you and your spouse own. Creditors cannot take jointly owned property. But, there are two conditions attached to this. First, you must file an affidavit to claim the exemption. Second, you cannot start sharing property to protect it. Doing so may cause you to lose the exemption.

Florida also allows you to take money from your income. But there are exceptions. If you are the head of a family and make $500 or less a week, then that money can be exempt. At most, a creditor can garnish 25% of your net earnings. The amount seized can also be greater than 30 times whatever the federal minimum wage is per week. The amount taken is whichever is the lesser of the two. Other kinds of income that are exempt include Social Security, pensions, and college savings accounts.

If you are at risk of losing property, it's a good idea to call an attorney that's knowledgeable about credit card debt. They will be able to tell you exactly what applies in your case. They will also guide you through the judgment process and may help save your possessions.

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