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Child Support – Wage Withholding Order or “Child Support Wage Garnishment

Jackson Law Group
Board Certified


In almost all circumstances, one parent will pay child support. When a court orders child support payments, the court must order that income be withheld from the obligor’s disposable earnings as child support. This is often call “wage garnishment.” It is not garnishment.  It is child support withholding.

A Wage Withholding Order, for good cause shown or by agreement of the parties (court must approve the agreement) may be suspended. That is, the order of withholding income will not be issued or delivered to an employer until the obligor has been in arrears for an amount due for more than 30 days; or  the amount of the arrearages is an amount equal to or greater than the amount due for a one-month period; or any other violation of the child support order has occurred.

Advice: WE ALWAYS DISCOURAGE OUR CLIENT’S from suspending the wage withholding order.  It is just better to let the employer do it.  

Note: DO NOT EVER PAY CHILD SUPPORT TO YOUR EX-SPOUSE DIRECTLY! PERIOD TO THE OTHER PARENT. Always follow the order exactly – pay your child support to the State Disbursement Unit. 

If the court suspends income withholding, an order for support must contain a provision to ensure that withholding may be effected if a violation of the support order occurs. A child support order must be construed to contain a withholding provision even if the provision has been omitted. The order must provide that income withheld for child support be paid to a local registry or the Title IV-D agency (Attorney General’s Office). The mere fact that the obligor is a temporary employee is not considered good cause to refuse to order income withholding.

A child support withholding order must direct the obligor’s employer to withhold from the obligor’s disposable earnings the amount specified, up to a maximum of 50 percent of the obligor’s disposable earnings. In addition to the amount withheld as child support, the employer may deduct an administrative fee of not more than $5 per month from the obligor’s disposable earnings.

The employer must remit the withheld amount to the person or office named in the order on each pay date. The employer must include the following information with each payment transmitted

Employer’s must comply with a wage withholding order and may not discipline an employee because one was issued. An employer may not use an order for withholding for child support as grounds for terminating employment or any other disciplinary action against an employee. This is true whether the employee is a permanent or temporary employee. In addition, an employer may not refuse to hire an employee because of an order to withhold income for child support. An employer who intentionally discharges an employee based in whole or in part on such an order continues to be liable to the employee for current wages and other benefits and is liable for reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs incurred in enforcing the employee’s rights. Only the employee may bring an action for these remedies. In addition, an employer who knowingly violates these rules may be subject to a fine not to exceed $200 for each occurrence in which the employer fails to withhold. A fine recovered under this provision is to be paid to the obligee and credited against any amounts owed by the obligor.