Skip to main content

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

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?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


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.


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 could be considered attorney advertising.


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/Client Relationship with you because you have not yet retained me, and because you have not provided me with a COMPLETE set of all the FACTS in your legal situation. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. This answer is provided as GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and to assist you in beginning your own research or in finding an attorney to represent you. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland and California. If you want me to provide legal advice, then you must call for a Consultation. If you would like me to represent you, then a Retainer and a fully signed and dated Legal Services Agreement (a contract) will be required. Office: (410) 381-1656. David Mahood, Esq.


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 informational purposes only and is not a substitute for contacting an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and obtaining legal advice from such an attorney. If further assistance is needed please feel free to contact me and retain my services.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer