By law, your employer must comply with a child support order to garnish wages.
When a Florida court order stipulates a parent must pay child support, the law does not assume parents will necessarily carry out this order willingly. For this reason, Florida statutes exist that help the state and relevant authorities actually enforce a child support order.
One of these enforcement provisions is wage garnishment, which is a fancy way of saying that Florida courts can use income from a parent’s paycheck to pay child support costs. There are, however, limits to the amount of money that can be garnished.
The Process of Garnishing Payments for Child Support
By law, Florida employers must comply with the state’s child support collection laws once served with an order. When a court issues an income deduction order under Section 61.1301 of the Florida Statutes, employers are required to:
- Deduct the wages of the noncustodial parent in question
- Remit the garnished wages as child support payments by sending the payments to the Florida State Disbursement Unit
This employer responsibility is legally binding unless an issuing agency informs them they are no longer obligated to perform these actions. Under Florida law, employers are classified as “payors”, which essentially can be any entity or person that provides a noncustodial parent with income.
A child support order may also be served to administrators who oversee a noncustodial parent’s pension fund or workers’ compensation insurance. In effect, Florida law goes to great lengths in order to ensure that an employed noncustodial parent contributes to the financial well-being of their children.
Despite these great lengths taken, there are limits to the amount of a paycheck that can be garnished.
Limitations on Child Support Garnishment
The Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) places limitations on how much of an employee’s paycheck can be garnished for child support purposes, and Florida adheres to these standards. As a result, noncustodial Florida parents who do not support a current spouse or dependent child (other than a former spouse or the child in the court-issued order) may have up to 60% of their paycheck garnished for child support.
However, when an employee is currently supporting a current spouse or dependent child in addition to the parties provided for under a court order, then the maximum garnishment percentage is reduced to 50%. In either scenario, an additional 5% can be garnished if child support payments are more than 12 weeks past due, resulting in a maximum garnishment of either 65% or 55%.
As a final point, Florida does provide an exemption to wage garnishment based upon the CCPA. Florida law exempts a head of family from wage garnishment if their weekly disposable earnings amount to $750 or less, unless the head of family agrees to wage garnishment in writing. A head of family is legally defined as an individual who provides more than 50% of support for a child or dependent.
If you have questions regarding child support, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]