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Income Garnishments for Child Support and Money Judgments

Income Garnishments for Child Support and Money Judgments


Do you owe child support? Or are you subject to a money judgment? If so, you may be subject to garnishment of your wages. Wage garnishments are generally used to pay off a debt or pay child support to a custodial parent. Both Indiana and the federal government have laws that govern wage garnishments and income withholding orders.

A wage garnishment is when an employer, through an order of a court, withholds money from your paycheck to pay back creditors. Creditors, such as credit card companies or personal loan services, must have a money judgment from the court in order to garnish your wages. However, if you owe state or federal taxes, are behind on student loan payments, or owe child support or alimony, your wages can be garnished without a court order.

Garnishments are limited to a certain amount of your paycheck. Under federal law, wage garnishments cannot exceed 25% of your disposable income or the amount by which disposable earnings exceed 30x the federal minimum wage, whichever is less. In Indiana, if you can show good cause as to why a garnishment should be less than 25% of your income, you may be able to get it reduced. Certain income is exempt from garnishment, such as social security benefits, veterans benefits, and unemployment or workers’ compensation.

Income withholding orders, used for child support, are not subject to the same limitations as garnishments for money judgments. In Indiana, up to 50% of disposable income can be withheld to pay child support if you have a spouse and other children (not subject to the order) to support or up to 60% if you are not supporting a spouse or other children. Exemptions for wage garnishments do not apply to child support withholdings and benefits such as social security disability can be garnished. In the case you have both a child support withholding order and a money judgment from a court, your garnishment will first be used to pay child support. Additionally, in Indiana, an employer cannot discharge you because you have multiple wage garnishments.

If you have questions or concerns about wage garnishments or child support orders, McNeely Law has a team of experienced attorneys ready to help you with all your legal needs. Give us a call at (317) 825-5110 to discuss any questions you may have.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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