Wage Garnishment is Not Required

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 does not have to 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 )

Check out specific information for your state below

Arkansas

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.

Source: http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/childSupport/resources/Pages/FAQs.aspx#p

California

“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.”

Source: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1252.htm

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.

Source: http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/manuals/dss/cse/man/csecp-10.htm#P1158_112846

Tennessee

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.

Source: http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv/is/Documents/1240-02-04.pdf

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2 Comments

  1. The NJ child support website, and according the the case manager, states that “Federal law requires child support payments to be automatically deducted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. Income withholding makes it easier for the custodial parent to receive timely, regular payments, and for the non-custodial parent to take care of this obligation. The employer deducts the child support amount and sends it to the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center (NJFSPC), which then provides payment to the custodial parent.

    In rare cases, a judge and the parties may determine another way for the non-custodial parent to pay support.”

    I do not believe this is accurate. Why would it say this?

    1. The reason why they say this is because the state prefers the payments to go thru them so that they can count it as “money collected”. We as taxpayers spend $6 Billion / year to maintain child support systems. 2/3 of the money comes from the federal government who disperse the funds to the state. In order for the states to receive this money they must meet an efficiency rating. This rating is based on 2 things: 1. The percentage of open cases that money is collected and 2. The amount of money collected by the state. Wage garnishments are the easiest way to meet this rating because there usually is little to no work involved in the case and the money is automatically collected.

      This is why the states say this and recommend this approach. However, it is absolutely in your rights to not require wage garnishment.

      Does this help explain this?

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