Along with assigning child support orders, judges often include a “wage assignment” (garnishment) coupled with the order as well.

Wage garnishment laws are a method for creditors to collect a debt by directly collecting the individual’s wages. In this case, it allows the employer to take child support payment directly from your pay. This can only be done once individuals receive money judgment from the court. For example, a court may order an employer to reserve an amount of an individual’s salary and make a payment directly to the creditor. Hence, before receiving a court order, the employer is prohibited from garnishing your salary.

Under federal law, there is a limit on how much a debtor’s pay can be garnished, the amount is limited to 25% of weekly gross income earnings. The weekly earnings are calculated by subtracting mandatory expenses such as tax from the earnings, or see if the amount exceeds 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is less. Not all states apply the same percentage for child support garnishment limits.  For instance, in California, the garnishment amount is less.

Generally, an individual’s pay may continue to be garnished until the whole debt has been completely offset.

Wage Garnishment Limit in California

In California, the wage garnishment limit is set to the following;

  • 25% of an individual’s weekly pay
  • 50% of an individual’s weekly pay if it exceeds 40 times California’s minimum wage.

If the location issues a higher minimum hourly wage, the minimum wage at the time of earning is used for calculations. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 706.050.

Wage Garnishment Limit on Child Support in California

Generally, in California, a debtor may be granted an exemption from the court if they can prove that their income is needed to support the debtor’s family.

However, in this case, if an individual owes a debt to child support, the creditor may still garnish on their pay without a court judgment order. There are two ways court order limits child support;

  • Automatic withhold of debtor’s earnings
  • Wage garnishment if the debtor is behind on paying for child support

Federal law only allows wage garnishments to be only up to 50% of the debtor’s pay if they are already supporting a spouse or a child, apart from the order. Additionally, if that isn’t the case and the debtor isn’t supporting anyone, then a wage garnishment of 60% may be taken from their pay. There is also an added 5% penalty if the payment is delayed for more than 12 weeks.

In some instances, parents may want to come up with their own arrangements with the involvement of child support agencies. In such a case, parents can make an agreement stating that child support payment will not be received by way of garnishments. Consequently, the employer can be notified of the decision and the wage assignment will be “stayed” or put on hold.

Do Both Parents Need To Pay Child Support?

By law, parents are both expected to provide for their children. So refusing to pay support can lead to serious consequences. Individuals that have the ability to support but are unwilling to can potentially face time in prison.

An exception of not paying support is if the reason an individual is not paying for support is that they are incapable of doing so, such as lowered income, change of jobs, or being unemployed, the individual will receive leniency. However, it is their duty to report this to the court to receive a lowered support owed. If the individual fails to notify the court of important changes, then they are expected to pay in the same amount, regardless of their change in circumstances.

F.A.Qs: Who Pays Child Support with 50/50 Custody?

Child custody is one of the biggest things to determine after a legal separation occurs. Figuring out the custodial rights between two parents plays a major role in deciding who is liable to pay for child support. Very often, whichever parent is the non-custodial parent is the key to determining who is expected to pay child support. But in a lot of cases, families prefer joint custody of their children. Thus, how is child support determined in the case that there is no non-custodial parent?

Q: What are the different types of child support?

A: In California, there are two main types of child custody;

  • Physical custody:
    Simply put, physical custody grants the parents the right for the child to live with them.
  • Legal custody:
    On the other hand, legal custody grants the parents the authority to make major decisions on several aspects of a child growing up such as education, medical care, and religion.

After deciding between the two types of custody, it must be further decided whether it will be sole custody or joint custody. Under some circumstances where one parent holds qualities that are unfit to raise the child, the court may grant sole custody to the other parent. Usually, parents have sole custody to either physical or legal custody. However, in some cases, parents opt for joint custody. This means that both parents equally share the same level of decision-making authority as well as physical control.

Q: Who Is Liable to Pay for Child Support in Joint Custody?

A: Under California law, both parents are expected to contribute to support their child. Since the non-custodial parent is not as distinct in joint custody, courts rely on other factors to determine child support duty. Some of the factors may include but not limited to;

  • The amount of time spent with each parent
  • Each parent’s gross income
  • The number of children shared in child custody

Time spent with the child has a big correlation to child support. In the case where parents agreed to have joint custody, the more time spent with the child the less each parent needs to pay for child support, but if the child ends up spending roughly the same time with both parents, time-share will become less of an important factor and courts turn to each parents’ gross income instead.  For example, one parent’s higher earnings can dictate that they provide child support.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one needs legal help with their child support payments, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.