Parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children, even when the parents divorce. Your divorce decree likely contains an order directing the non-custodial parent to pay a certain amount each month in child support, usually deducted from that individual's paycheck. In some cases, child support payments may be deducted from two jobs.
In most cases, state law requires that child support orders contain an income withholding order requiring that child support payments be deducted directly from your paycheck. If your state allows parents to waive the income withholding order, the judge might not include it if you and your ex-spouse agree to waive it. Even if you both agree initially, however, your former spouse can ask the court or your state’s child support enforcement agency to issue an income withholding order at any time, and your ex-spouse is likely to request the order if you have not paid your support on time.
Your employer is responsible for complying with your income withholding order, and your state may send him a notice directing that child support be withheld. Your employer cannot fire you because of the extra paperwork he must complete to comply with your order. Your employer must also comply with the Consumer Credit Protection Act limits on how much of your wages can be withheld.
Consumer Credit Protection Act
The Consumer Credit Protection Act limits are based on percentages of your disposable income, meaning the money you take home after federal, state, local and Social Security taxes are deducted. Your employer cannot deduct more than 50 percent of your disposable income if you have a second family and you are current with your child support payments. However, if your support is at least 12 weeks past due, that maximum deduction amount increases to 55 percent. If one of your employers cannot withhold enough of your earnings to completely pay your required child support, a second employer may withhold the remaining amount, but the total withheld should not exceed the amount stated in your withholding order.
Past Due Support
If you owe past due support, the total amount listed on the income withholding notice your employer receives may be more than the amount in your original court order. If your employers cannot withhold the total support amount due, you are still responsible for paying the unpaid amount. You may be penalized by liens on your property, revocation of your driver’s license or passport and other enforcement measures if you fail to pay the full amount.