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Can income be withheld for child support in California?

When parents are ordered to pay child support in California, it must be adhered to under the law. If it is not, there are alternatives that the state can use to collect. This includes withholding income, also known as a wage assignment. With a wage assignment, the employer of the supporting parent will be required to deduct money from the paycheck to make the payments. This will be based on the most recent court order, but it can rise if the amount owed rises.

The point of a wage assignment is to ensure that the child is receiving the support that he or she is supposed to. It is beneficial to the paying parent as it is a record of payments. The wage assignment will continue until the parent is current on the child support. People are often concerned that a wage assignment can cost them their job. This should not be a worry as it is illegal for an employer to dismiss an employee because of a wage assignment.

The employer must carry out a wage assignment if it is ordered. Failure to do so can result in the employer being held in contempt of court. The employer is provided with instructions to deduct the payments, but it is up to the parent to make certain that they are made on time and in full. There will be a child support statement and this can be compared to payment records to make sure the parent is credited for making the payments.

In general, as much as half the net wages can be taken from the person to pay child support. If it is a special circumstance, as much as 65 percent can be taken. If the support order comes to more than half of the net income, the entire amount of child support will not be covered and the person will have to pay the difference. It might be possible to change the order if it comes to more than 50 percent of the parent's net income. If the parent gets a different job or becomes unemployed, the child support agency must be informed. Whether the parent is working or not, the child support must still be paid.

Numerous family legal issues and seemingly endless dispute can arise due to problems with child support. People who have concerns about paying or receiving child support must understand wage assignments. Speaking to an attorney experienced in these family law cases is key.

Source: childsup.ca.gov, "Child Support Wage Assignments," accessed on May 2, 2017

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