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Garnishment of Wages for Child Support

Posted on in Child Support

NOTE: As of July 2017, the law governing child support in Illinois has changed. Please see our Child Support page for more information.

DuPage County child support lawyer, garnishment of wages, wage garnishmentIn the state of Illinois, court-ordered child support is usually collected through your employer. The paycheck that your employer gives you will already have the garnishment taken out of it. If you are supporting one child, 20 percent of your pay will be withheld, and if you are supporting two children, 28 percent will go to them. For three or more children, the proportions of your pay that are garnished increases, up to a maximum of 50 percent.

Garnishment for Debts on Top of Child Support

If you have any additional debts, such as medical bills, that a collector is trying to recoup through garnishment, it is unlikely that your employer will be able to further garnish your wages. Even if they have been served with a garnishment order, they must coordinate garnishments, and cannot exceed the cap set by Illinois’ Income Withholding for Support Act. Garnishments cannot exceed 15 percent of your gross pay, or 15 percent of your net pay over $371.25 per week (whichever amount is less). This means that if your take home pay is less than $371.25, your wages cannot be garnished at all for non-child support payments.

Child support payments are the only exception to this garnishment limit, and since you would already be paying at least 20 percent of your wages to support your children, a debt collector would not be able to stack further garnishments on top of the amount that is already taken out of your paycheck.

Paying Child Support on Top of Older Debts

If you are already paying off a previous debt through wage garnishments, and you are ordered by a court to pay child support, this new order will take precedence over the older debts, and in the vast majority of cases, will prevent the creditor from collecting from you through garnishing your paychecks. This is because in Illinois, child support is always prioritized over regular, non-child support payments.

The only way that a debt, either new or old, could be collected through garnishment at the same time as child support payments, is if the total amount deducted from your gross pay for taxes and Social Security contributions is greater than 25 percent. This would result in your net pay, after deductions, being able to support a 20 percent child support payment, with some money left over to be garnished for a debt, while still not reaching the 15 percent of gross pay cap. This is rare, but possible, and the amount that your wages would be garnished to pay the debt would likely be fairly small.

Contact a Child Support Lawyer

If your employer is garnishing your paychecks, and you are not sure why, or suspect that the amount is beyond what you are obligated to provide, you should consult with a knowledgeable DuPage County child support lawyer. Davi Law Group, LLC can help you get a handle on your child support payments, and will advocate for your economic rights as you support your children.

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