When you owe a debt you do not pay, the creditor can use the legal procedure of garnishment to have your employer withhold part of your paycheck every month. Alaska law restricts the amount of money that a creditor can take from a debtor's salary to 25 percent, but an exception is made for child support.
Child Support Obligation
Both parents have a legal duty to provide food, shelter, clothing and other necessities to their minor children. Alaska courts often award the parent who has custody of the children a monthly child support amount to be paid by the other parent to help meet the children's needs. This debt is enforceable in the courts in Alaska, as in other states. The procedures available to help collect child support include wage garnishment.
Automatic Garnishment Order
If a person does not pay his debts, a court can order the debtor's employer to withhold a set amount of money from his paycheck, which is sent directly to the creditor. Wage garnishment, also called wage attachment, requires a court order in most cases, although taxing authorities such as the IRS have expedited procedures. In Alaska, a special court order is not required for wage garnishment for child support, since all child support orders contain an automatic wage withholding order.
Alaska Wage Withholding
If an Alaska employee is required to pay child support, his employer receives a document called a wage withholding order. The order informs the employer when to begin withholding money, how much to withhold and how to dispose of it. A withholding order applies to bonuses and commissions as well as hourly wages or base salary. It also applies to retirement pay. It is the legal duty of the employer to withhold the money and forward it within seven days to the address provided on the order. If he fails to withhold, he may be liable for 100 percent of the child support amount.
Alaska law provides safeguards for the employee whose wages are garnished, including limitations on the percentage of wages that can be withheld. The maximum withholding limit in Alaska for payment of child support is 40 percent of net income. This increases to 50 percent of income if the parent has also been ordered to pay medical support. In addition, the law protects the employee from being fired because of a child support wage withholding, and an employer who does so can be fined and ordered to pay court costs.