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Wage Garnishment for Support Orders

Posted on in Child Support

Naperville family lawyersIf support orders are issued in a divorce proceeding, they must be obeyed, and there is very little room for equivocation or delay. However, despite the courts’ clear edicts, sometimes they are ignored by the individuals who are required to pay them. When that happens, the recipient can get a court order to compel payment through a few possible means. The most common of these, especially in regard to child support, is wage garnishment.

Definitions and Practices

Wage garnishment is a tool used across the nation when an overdue bill or debt needs to be collected. This is achieved by completing relevant paperwork with the debtor’s employer, and having a portion of the debtor’s take-home pay “garnished,” or held, to put toward the debt.

In Illinois, this is the main tool used to collect overdue and delinquent child support. Since the passage of the Family Support Act, the federal government has mandated that each child support order be accompanied by an order of automatic withholding. This means that most often, a parent’s child support obligations will simply be deducted from his or her paycheck. However, if a parent has no income, or loses their job, automatic withholding ceases to be effective. Garnishment achieves a similar outcome to automatic withholding, but the difference is that it is far more limited in scope than a withholding order.

If a garnishment becomes necessary, there are steps that must be taken before it may begin—namely, consulting your state’s Department of Family & Child Services (DFCS) and advising them of the existence of the issue. If you advise the relevant department of your lack of child support, they will almost certainly begin proceedings against the paying parent. This is, in many cases, considered contempt of court, as a support order is a direct order of the court and should be enforced it is against public policy.

Things to Consider

A common example that can prove an unpleasant surprise for many paying parents is the issue of percentages. Illinois law mandates that if the debt is non-support in nature, approximately 25 percent of your wages can be garnished to help pay it off. However, if the debt is child support or maintenance owing to the custodial parent, that amount jumps to 50 percent and can go as high as 60 percent if you have no other current dependents.

Another issue that is often seen is that many spouses and even attorneys claim to be ignorant of the rules surrounding garnishment amounts. For example, it is the law in Illinois that if someone less than a certain amount, their wages cannot be garnished.

An Experienced Lawyer Can Help

If you are currently not receiving the support you are due pursuant to a court order, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C. today.

Source:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/family-support-act-of-1988

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