Can Wages Be Garnished Without An Order From The Court?

advice on divorceQuestion:

What can I do to keep the state child support enforcement agency from garnishing my wages?

It was discovered that I was the biological father of a teenage child, and I was ordered to pay child support, but the state is also holding me responsible for all of the money the mother has received from welfare over the years.


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide legal advice on divorce.

Generally, your wages cannot be garnished without an order of the court. The court will not issue a garnishment order without a judgment being awarded against you.

In the case of child support, your child’s mother or the state must initiate an action to recover the amounts owed, known as arrearages.

During such a proceeding the court will look at information such as amounts previously paid, the income of both parents, child care expenses, health insurance expenses, and visitation.

If the party who initiated an action for arrearages is successful in showing that the amounts are owed, then the court can award that party a judgment in the amount of the arrearages, plus interest in some states.

Once the judgment is awarded, the prevailing party can seek an order allowing garnishment as a means to execute the judgment. There are state and federal laws regarding how much of your income can be taken to satisfy the judgment.

In short, to keep the state from garnishing your wages, you should seriously consider defending yourself in this action. Child support obligations are inescapable.

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Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell and Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer Christian D. Barnard, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “Can Wages Be Garnished Without An Order From The Court?

    I am studying wage garnishment for my class and am needing to learn more about it. I didn’t realize that wages cannot be garnished without an order of the court. I think this would be important that a court has to issue the wage garnishment so then it can’t happen with fairness and agreement of amount needing to be taken out. Thanks for the information!

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