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Wage Garnishment for Unpaid Child Support Obligations


The law offers plenty of protections for people experiencing financial hardship.  For example, United States law does not allow debtors’ prisons, and incarceration cannot be a punishment for failure to pay a debt.  Federal bankruptcy laws enable financially distressed people to discharge many kinds of debts by filing for bankruptcy protection.  Wage garnishment, where a creditor helps itself to part of your paycheck before the remainder of it even goes into your bank account, is perfectly legal, however.  The family court can also garnish your paychecks if you fall behind on child support payments and your ex-spouse requests garnishment.  In Florida, the court can garnish up to 65 percent of our disposable income and use it to pay your child support debts; it can continue to do this every month until the debt is paid off.  If you are unable to meet your child support obligations, the best thing you can do is to contact a Boca Raton child support lawyer and petition the court to modify your child support obligations to an amount that better reflects your financial means.

Child Support Nightmares: When the Court Continues to Garnish Your Paychecks Even After Your Child Support Debts Are Paid in Full

In Broward County, a father of three got divorced.  Shortly after the divorce became final, he suffered a reduction in income and was unable to pay the amounts indicated in the child support order.  The mother filed a motion to enforce the child support order, and this eventually led to a garnishment of the father’s paychecks.  The court took one third of every paycheck the father received.  This went on for years, until after all of the children had reached adulthood, and the father got so used to it that he lost track of the total amount of money that the court had deducted from his income.

The father eventually realized that the amount the court had deducted was more than he owed.  The child support order had indicated that, as each child reached adulthood, the amount the father owed would decrease.  In other words, his obligations were 3x per month when all three children were minors, 2x per month when only the youngest two were minors, and x per month when only the youngest child was a minor.  Despite this, the court had continued to garnish his pay based on an obligation of 3x per month until the youngest child reached adulthood.  The father filed a motion to modify the garnishment order to give him credit for paying ahead of schedule, and it granted the motion and corrected the error.

Contact Schwartz | White About Modifying a Child Support Order

Child support obligations are based on how much you can pay, not on how much your ex-spouse thinks you can pay.  A South Florida family law attorney can help you modify a child support order to avoid wage garnishment, or even if your paychecks are already being garnished.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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