How much do I have to be in arrears for child support before my wages are garnished?

Asked over 1 year ago - Loma Linda, CA

A week and a half ago, I was ordered to pay my ex husband spousal and child support. The July payment is due by the 31st. The first half of the August payment is due Aug. 1. There is no way that I can pay either of these payments on time. If I pay it, then I can't pay my rent and I don't have money to move somewhere less expensive. Even though I do not agree with the support order and it has caused great financial hardship for me, I do intend to keep current, however, it's just not possible for me to do so yet How much do I have to be in arrears before my wages are garnished at work?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Jamaul Dmitri Cannon

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Garnishments or income withholding orders ("IWOs") as they are known in court are not dependent upon a certain amount of arrears. To the contrary, a party is entitled to a withholding of income even at the initial hearing to set spousal support. Since you say spousal support is a component of family support, I will assume that the Child Support Services Division ("CSSD") isn't enforcing the order since they no longer have authority to enforce spousal support orders.

    As such, I will assume this is an order from family court. To get an IWO, the other party or his or her attorney has to submit an order after hearing following your court date with a request for income withholding (unless you signed a stipulation in court). That can take a few weeks to get granted. Once the Order is submitted though, the judge usually issues the IWO concurrently. Once the other side receives the IWO, they will send to your employer who will then be forced to begin making deductions within a proscribed period of time. Generally speaking if everything breaks right for the side seeking an IWO, it usually takes about 4-6 weeks before your wages will be withheld from you, but it can often take much longer. The bottom line though is every month you don't pay, the arrearage put will grow even greater so you might want to take care of this sooner rather than later.

  2. David Raymond Mahood


    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . They can garnish your wages even on small amounts of arrears.

    Office: (410) 381-1656. This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/... more
  3. Arturo Angel Burga


    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . It is not about the amount, it is about what the court order says. An Income Withholding Order would need to be filed with the court, signed by Judge and then served on your employer. That takes a few weeks to complete.

    Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. The answer given is for... more
  4. David Alexander Browde


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Ten cents is sufficient.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer... more

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