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Can Child Support Payments be Automatically Deducted from a Parent's Paycheck?

Are you tired of getting your child support payments whenever your ex feels like paying them? Does your ex not always pay the amount of child support that he or she is supposed to pay? One easy solution to these problems is to have your child support payments automatically deducted from the other parent’s paycheck by his or her employer. Taking this step can ensure that you and your child receive the consistent, timely full payments to which you are entitled.

Federal and state law requires, in most circumstances, that a parent’s child support obligation be automatically deducted from his or her paycheck through a garnishment or income withholding order. In some cases, however, there may be a good reason as to why the parent’s child support obligation should not be deducted from his or her paycheck, such as if he or she is self-employed. In this case, he or she can get an order from the court that the payments do not have to be deducted. Nonetheless, in most cases, you can easily have your child support payments automatically deducted from the other parent’s paycheck.

A court can issue a garnishment or income withholding order for the payment of child support. In most states, your local child support agency can also administratively issue an order to have payments deducted from the parent’s paycheck. Therefore, if you know where your ex works, you can ask your court or child support agency to send a garnishment order to that employer in order to have your child support payments withheld from your ex’s paycheck.

An employer has no choice but to follow the garnishment order for child support. Even if an employer receives a garnishment order from another state, the employer is required to follow the order under federal law. In most states, the employer is liable for the child support payments, damages and/or fines if the employer does not properly deduct and send in the child support payments according to the garnishment order.

There are some limitations on the amount of money that can be garnished from the parent’s paycheck. Under federal law, only 55% - 65% of the parent’s disposable income (income after taxes) can be deducted from the paycheck for child support payments, depending on the parent’s current family situation. Therefore, if a parent is only working 20 hours per week at minimum wage, and is ordered to pay you $150.00 per week in child support, the employer cannot legally deduct your entire child support payment. In this situation, then, a garnishment order would not be completely effective.

Finally, it is important to know that a child support order takes precedence over other garnishment orders. This means that if a parent has been sued for an unpaid credit card bill, and the credit card company wants to garnish the parent’s wages for the money owed, their garnishment order will come second in line to your child support order. In other words, your child support will be paid first, before any other garnishment orders.

Speak to an Experienced Child Support Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified child support lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local child support attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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