Child Support Does Not Have To Be Garnished

Contrary to popular belief not all child support orders or agreements are subject to wage garnishment.

In the United States the following cases are subject to wage garnishment:

  1. You currently have a case open with your local child support agency – typically for overdue child support or for the reasons highlighted in number 2 and number 3 below
  2. Your child & the child’s custodial parent has currently received public benefits
  3. Your child & the child’s custodial parent has received public benefits in the past

However, if your situation does not fall into one of the 3 buckets above then your child support may not be forcibly garnished and you are able to work out your payments and cost sharing directly with the other parent.

Federal Law Allows for Payments without Income Withholding

The Federal law allows for a case to not be subject to immediate income withholding if there is a written agreement between parents:

a written alternative arrangement signed by both the custodial and noncustodial parent, and, at State option, by the State in IV-D cases in which there is an assignment of support rights to the State, and reviewed and entered in the record by the court or administrative authority. (Source: Family Support Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-485) & Public Law 104-193 )

Here is a breakdown of the information by state:

Note: We will continue to update this as more information is collected


Is wage garnishment a requirement?

Details & Links



The court may allow an exception by making a written finding that there is “good cause” to not order income withholding. To get this exception, you must show that withholding would not be in the best interest of the child and you have made your payments (if any) on time.




“When the local child support agency (LCSA) is NOT involved, both parents can agree that payments can be made in some other way and can ask that service of the earnings assignment (sending the earnings assignment to the employer) be “stayed” (put on hold). In this situation, the former spouses/partners work out how spousal or partner support will be paid and handle it between them.”

North Carolina


Immediate withholding is not implemented for a case if either party can show good cause that such a withholding is not in the best interest of the child. A finding of good cause must include an explanation of why the implementation of immediate withholding would not be in the best interest of the child, and for cases involving the modification of support orders, it must show proof of timely payment of previously ordered support.

An alternative arrangement that benefits the child must be agreed upon by both parties.



Can define specific child support agreement, amount and frequency as part of a marital dissolution agreement or parenting plan. This will be reviewed and approved by a legal judge and established as n order of the court.

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