Garnishing Your Wages–How much can they REALLY take?
I learned another (not-fun) tidbit just this week.
As a little background, I represent a guy who has had the stuffing knocked out of him by his ex in so many ways that it would break your heart. This new bit I learned while working on his case. The Office of Recovery Services (ORS) is the state office in Utah that is tasked with collecting child support and alimony payments (called “support” payments, both of them.) The ORS can be very useful, but they can also make the life of the obligor parent (the one who pays–to remember: “The Obligor is always Poor”)
something of a hell on earth (but ONLY if he/she is a respectable honest person who doesn’t do all the little things that can be done to avoid paying child support and alimony. Sucks, but there you are…)
One of the new ways I’ve discovered that ORS can destroy the average Obligor’s life is this: through wage garnishment. The ORS has the right to garnish the wages of anyone who owes on a support order–meaning, you got behind and now owe more than just this current month’s payment. According to the Department of Labor, for child support/alimony payments owing, the obligor’s wages can be garnished up to 50% if that person is currently supporting a new wife/child(ren), or up to 60% if he/she has no such new/current obligations to family. The Big, Happy (NOT) Law info is located here: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/garnish.htm. (An aside: So far as I can tell, the self-employed cannot be garnished…just a little sump’m sump’m that might be of use to some of you. I’ll let you know if I learn otherwise.)
So the take-away is this: If you are an honest person, who is not making it his/her life’s work to duck paying child support/alimony, who is employed and earns wages, DO NOT fall behind on support payments. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to have half of my monthly income sucked away in lump chunks like that. Your best bet is to keep the support amounts from being more than you can handle from the beginning.
Oh, and get a lawyer for your divorce/custody case…
This is what it looks like in most people’s lives…A good one from Trace Adkins, from back in the day. Keep on Tryin’.