Garnishments in Missouri (Part Two)

by Bankruptcy Law Network (BLN)

April 26, 2007

Missouri lowers the allowable garnishments to 10% from 25% of wages after deductions if the debtor being garnished is the head of a family Few Missouri cases examine the head of a family requirement.

Courts tend to adopt a broad view of the word family. For head of the family status, a debtor has to be actually supporting a household. Making this determination is based mostly on economic considerations for the goal of the exemption is to preserve the family unit. A family is “a collective body of persons who live in one house under one head or manager.” The head of that family is one who “contracts, supervises and manages the affairs about the house, not necessarily a father or a husband.”

Missouri courts are looking at certain factors that display what they consider to be head of the family behavior. It helps if the head of the family is actually claiming the household members as dependents on tax returns. Missouri courts have also looked at the bankruptcy expense schedules to see if the claimant was listing expenses at levels that would support the idea the claimant is supporting the number of household members claimed when compared to the IRS Collection Financial Standards. However, the Eighth Circuit has held that a non-custodial father who isn’t meeting his support payments on the date of filing can’t claim the exemption.

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Last modified: April 27, 2007