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Wage Garnishment in a Divorce .
  • Divorce and child support

Unpaid Child Support in Divorce

When it comes to unpaid child support in a divorce wages can be garnished, or seized without a court judgment. If a parent fails to make their child support payments, the state has the right to collect that person’s wages through their employer, or through other means.

If your spouse owes unpaid child support, you have a number of ways to collect the money from them set by the California Department of Child Support Services. The various types of earnings that can be garnished for unpaid child support payments are:

• Wages in the form of salary, tips, bonuses, retirement and vacation pay, commissions and regular overtime
• Dividends, rents, royalties, patent rights, payments due for services of independent contractors
• Payments from workers compensation, temporary disability benefits
• Regardless of source, any other payments or credits due or becoming due

In a California divorce, if the garnished wages do not cover the entire amount owed, the custodial parent may seek other ways of obtaining garnishment by property seizure. Property seizure is the act of law enforcement officials taking property which includes: houses, boats, cars, motorcycles, corporate stock, and more. This only occurs after the parent has had various amount or types of notice to pay the child support and still has not paid. The custodial parent must keep in mind that the levels of garnishment are 50% if supporting another family, 60% if not, and 65% if the spouse child support payment is 12 weeks past due. Regardless, under California law, the spouse having to pay child support must pay the amount agreed upon by the court during the divorce, no matter what kind of payment they make or is lawfully seized.

If you have specific questions about wage garnishment and/or divorce contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.

  • Spousal Support Order, Divorce Long Beach

Spousal Support Order

After you get a spousal, or partner support court order, your former spouse, or domestic partner must start making support payments to you. These payments come into effect by a specific date issued by the court. It is a court ordered earnings assignment, or “wage garnishment,” which tells the employer of the person ordered to pay support, how much to deduct from each paycheck, and where to send the payment to. If the spouse/partner ordered to pay support is regularly employed, the employer will take support payments directly out of his or her paycheck.

Most support during/after separation is paid this way, and federal and state laws require it in almost all support cases. It is the employer’s responsibility to withhold the wages if there is an earnings assignment. If your former spouse or partner also has a child support earnings assignment in place, child support is deducted first. In this case, there are exceptions to wages being automatically deducted by the employer depending on whether or not the local child support agency is involved.

When the local child support agency is not involved, both parents can agree that payments can be made in some other way and can ask that service of the earnings statement. In this situation, the former spouses/partners work out how spousal or partner support will be paid and handle it between themselves. If the local child support agency is involved in your case, they will automatically issue an earnings assignment and begin collecting from your former spouse or domestic partner’s employer. Regardless of whether the support is an agreement between the former partners or garnished from their employer, the spousal support is always deducted after child support.

If you have specific questions about wage garnishment and divorce contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.

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Wage Garnishment Limits in California Divorce

When it comes to divorce, every state has specific guidelines for wage garnishment limits. California divorce law does not provide its own rules in terms of the maximum amount of earnings that can be subject to garnishment. Therefore, California goes by Federal law. The idea is that wage garnishment is limited so the amount being garnished does not exceed cost of living. Limits are placed depending on your disposable income. Disposable income, or earnings are those wages left after the deductions required by law, are made.

In a California divorce, the limits imposed are:
• Creditors may garnish the lesser of 25 % of disposable earnings
• The lesser of the amount by which weekly disposable earnings exceed 40 times the hourly minimum wage.

For example if you make $2,000 per week and your disposable earnings are $1,700 after the required deductions, then 25% of that amount is garnished which would be $425. If going by minimum wage, which in CA is $10.00, then 40 times that amount would be $400. As a result your wages can be garnished up to $425 or $400 a week.

In a California divorce, larger amounts are allowed for debts related to child support. The amounts exempt from garnishment in these cases varies by state law, as well as by other circumstances. The wage garnishment is released when the amount on the garnishment is paid. However, if an additional balance accrues on a delinquent account, they may issue another garnishment. If the state issued a garnishment in error, you must notify the state of California Franchise Tax Board as soon as possible and have them verify the error. They mail garnishment release notices, but can also fax them when requested. It is important to understand wage garnishment and get the best legal advice when having to decipher what types of support will be paid once the divorce is final to avoid garnishment.

If you have specific questions about wage garnishment and/or divorce contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney