Can my ex get my wages garnished to help pay for my child’s car?

Question:Divorce lawyer Leslie Lorenzano

My ex is threatening to garnish my wages because I refuse to pay for a car for my 18-year-old child. It does not say in the divorce decree that I have to do this.

I already pay for half their college tuition and expenses. Can she force me to pay for the car, and if so will she be able to get an income deduction order?


When a child reaches the age of 18, state laws vary regarding what a parent is required to pay for support.

Generally, after a child reaches the age of 18, parents are required in some states to pay a portion of the child’s college and living expenses, if the child is attending post-secondary education.

If a car is necessary for your child’s education and living expenses (i.e. if they have a commute to school because they are living at home), your ex could petition the court to require you to pay for a portion of the car.

You could argue that your children have alternative means of getting to school, so a car is not a necessary expense. You could also argue that your daughter should have to pay for 1/3 of the expense for the car.

Your income may also be a factor the court would consider. If after paying tuition, living expenses, and any support or maintenance orders you currently pay to your ex-wife, your income is low enough that paying for a car would place a hardship on you, the court may not require you to pay for a car, depending on the laws of your state.

If the court does require you to pay for a portion of the car, and you refuse, then your ex can go back to court and petition to have your wages garnished at that point.

Even if you are required to purchase a car that does not necessarily mean you have to buy your child a brand new BMW. You could argue that a reasonable, safe automobile should be sufficient.

Cordell & Cordell has divorce attorneys located nationwide.


Leslie Lorenzano is a Staff Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Lorenzano is licensed in the state of Indiana and the U.S. District Court Sothern District of Indiana. Ms. Lorenzano received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Purdue University, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona – James E. Rogers College of Law.

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One comment on “Can my ex get my wages garnished to help pay for my child’s car?

    This guys ex-wife reminds me of my voluntarily unemployed ex-wife who believes that i should provide her and the kids with the lifestyle that she feels she is entitled to.

    My position is that it takes two people to create a child, therefore providing for the care and maintenance of that child should be a shared responsibility instead of treating the non-custodial parent as though they are the custodial parents indentured servant, whose only contribution to their children’s welfare that the courts assign a value to is a support check, and who should consider themselves to be damned lucky to be allowed to visit with their children at the custodial parents whim.

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