Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Garnishing wages is a form of child support enforcement

There are numerous custodial parents or legal guardians in the state of Massachusetts who may find collecting monetary support from non-custodial parents to be a challenging task. Thankfully, the state offers various enforcement options to help with this particular child support issue. In this week's column, the enforcement option that will be discussed is the garnishment of wages.

Garnishing wages, or the withholding of money from one's pay check, may seem a little extreme. However, it may actually be one of the most effective ways to collect child support from a non-custodial parent -- as employers are required to comply. This is not something that can simply be requested by the custodial parent or legal guardian, though. This form of enforcement will require a court order.

When a wage garnishment order is approved, the non-custodial parent's employer will be promptly notified. They will then be responsible to withhold the designated amount and send it to the Department of Revenue, where it will then be distributed to the custodial parent or legal guardian. For the purposes of paying child support, 50 to 60 percent of one's pay check can be withheld. Wages will continue to be garnished until support payments are considered current.

Because the wage garnishment enforcement option requires a court order, it is not generally the first enforcement option to which custodial parents or legal guardians turn. However, if other enforcement options fail to produce the desired results, this is an option that will ensure payments are received -- as long as the payor remains employed. Massachusetts residents who find that enforcing child support orders is a challenge can seek legal assistance from an experienced family law attorney in order to take actions to collect the needed funds.

Source: FindLaw, "Wage Garnishment", Accessed on Dec. 8, 2016

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