If you fall behind on your child support, the Division of Child Support in the state where you reside might take collection actions against you.
The most common collection tool used is a payroll deduction or garnishment order. Once the Division of Child Support issues a payroll deduction your employer is required to with hold the requested amount from your pay. This request amount can be up to 50% of your check!
If your employer refuses to with hold the child support they become liable for the debt.
The employer is required to divide the requested amount over your pay periods evenly. This means, for example, if you owe $400 per month and are paid two times per month the employer will take $200 from each check.
Payroll deductions aren’t a big deal as long as you aren’t too far behind in your payments. In fact, payroll deductions can actually be more convenient than writing a check or paying the other party cash. They are taken out of each check evenly on your pay periods so you can budget for them better.
However, payroll deductions can be a problem if you owe a lot of past due child support. That’s because child support can take up to 50% of your net pay. This depends on what state you happen to live in. Many states allow 50% but several have a 25% limitation.
Obviously you do not want to be in a situation where half your pay is being garnished for child support. This typically occurs only when the child support agency has been having a hard time collecting from you.
You may for instance jump from job to job for the express purpose of trying to avoid paying child support. This is likely not what you are doing but sadly some people use this tactic.
That is why the child support agency will sometimes attempt to take half your check assuming that is the only money they are going to see for awhile. They plan on getting as much out of one or two checks before you jump ship and change jobs again.
To prevent from happening simply cooperate with the child support agency. Call them and explain you know you are behind but you are starting a new job, making X amount of money and can afford to pay X amount of money towards your debt each month. More often than now the child support worker will agree to your payment offer as long as it is reasonable.
You have much more negotiating power if you volunteer your employment information when you change jobs than you have if the child support agency has to track you down. And if you are working above the table they eventually will.
Although child support legally can take 50% of your paycheck more often than not they don’t really want to. They realize people cannot support themselves on only half of their income so will be willing to negotiate with you if you contact them. The biggest mistake debtors make is not contacting the child support agency to ask for help.
If you have children you have a responsibility to financially support them but you also obviously have to have enough money to support yourself.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where too much of your check is being garnished there is help for you but it’s ultimately your responsibility to ask for it from the child support agency where you reside.