Can Courts Garnish My Wages For Child Support?

In the majority of divorce cases where one parent will have primary custody over the other, the court also issues a child support order. This order directs the noncustodial parent to pay the custodial parent a certain monthly amount for the cost of providing for the children the marriage produced.

Although this may seem easy to follow, far too many parents fail or refuse to pay their court-ordered child support. One of the most common reasons these parents use is that they refuse to support their ex-spouse and completely lose sight of the fact that they are supporting their child, not their ex. Child support is the child’s right, not the custodial parent’s. The law doesn’t permit you to stop paying child support because you suspect that the custodial parent is misusing it or you dislike your ex.

It is not uncommon to hear of parents who owe thousands of dollars in back child support. This can be completely frustrating and financially burdensome for the parent who is supposed to be receiving the payments. What are the options that parents have for collection? Speak with one of our child support family law lawyers and find out how we can help.

One tool that a family law lawyer can explain to you is income withholding. This is when the court informs the paying parent’s employer that a certain amount of money is to be deducted from the parent’s paycheck before the check is given to the employee-parent. The employer sends these funds to the state agency that oversees child support payments. In turn, this person sends the funds to the parent who is receiving the support. More courts are leaning towards automatic income withholding for child support payments as a way to avoid the issue of owing back child support from even becoming a problem.

Income withholding only works if the paying parent works for an employer. If the parent loses his or her job, then the withholding stops. At this point, if the parent stops paying anything or less than his or her requirement, an arrearage begins building. The receiving parent often has to retain the services of a family law lawyer for assistance.

Once the parent is working somewhere where s/he is issued a legal paycheck each week, not only will income withholding begin, but your lawyer can also request the court to issue an order for wage garnishment in order to get the back child support that is owed.

Each state sets its limit to how much this amount can be, but in many cases, the courts do not take too kindly to parents who fail to meet their child support obligations. Thus, they may and can order an additional wage garnishment of between 50 to 60 percent to pay off the back child support that you owe.

Contact a child support family law lawyer, such as Daniel J. Wright of The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright. A lawyer can help you with issues in receiving your child support payments, clearly stating your claim and legal rights, as well as guiding you on best practices in and outside the courtroom regarding child support. 

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