Divorce lawyer, Cordell & Cordell
Many clients ask me how child support laws handle garnishing wages for the purposes of collecting child support.
Some are adamant that they do not want their wages garnished because they do not want their employers to know their personal business. Some believe wages can’t be garnished if they are current with their child support payments. Others think only paychecks can be garnished and not other sources of income.
Let’s address child support wage garnishment issues.
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 most states, a child support order becomes a judgment which can be collected on when it is issued. Like collection of a judgment from any other civil case, the judgment holder can use any legal means of collection at their disposal, including garnishment of proceeds from a sale of property. So it’s not just your paychecks that are affected.
Wage garnishments are intended to protect parents for accumulating arrearages on their support payments. It is often the perception that a paying parent should not be subject to any wage garnishment so long as they are current on their support payment.
But that isn’t always the case.
In many states, income deduction orders are authorized in all cases. But some states do not automatically order wage garnishments until the paying party begins owing back child support.
When this happens, 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 amount of visitation.
If the party who initiated an action for arrearages is successful in showing that the amounts are owed, the court can award that party a judgment in the amount of the arrearages plus, in some states, interest.
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.
For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and legal advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney.
To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Christian D. Barnard, an Associate Attorney in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.