Courts now routinely order wage garnishment for collecting child support. Although wage garnishment can be convenient and effective means of collecting support payments, it can also generate major problems for you if your employer is inept or irresponsible.
A number of States have made wage garnishment a standard part of all support orders. Wage garnishment works by having your employer deduct money from your paycheck before it is issued to you. Your employer is then supposed to forward the garnished funds to the designated Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) or Support Enforcement office.
However, if your employer does not properly handle the garnishment process and paperwork, this can cause severe problems for you.
The most common 'problem' scenario occurs when your employer takes the money out of your check but doesn't forward the garnished amount to the Support Enforcement office. This immediately causes the Support Enforcement office to list you as having an arrears (which you don't) and as being a 'deadbeat' (which you aren't).
When the Support Enforcement office doesn't receive the money from your employer, they will normally respond by improperly serving you with papers demanding immediate payment of the money they (mistakenly) believe you owe.
When the Support Enforcement office serves you, respond to them with a certified letter stating that the situation is out of your hands, and if they want the child support payments they will need to serve your employer, not you. Include copies of your pay stub(s) showing that the money was indeed garnished, and reference the pay stub(s) in your letter. Reiterate to the Support Enforcement office that they will need to serve your employer in order to get the child support, since you have already paid it through wage garnishment. Forward a copy of the letter to your employer, and copy your attorney on all correspondence you have with the Support Enforcement office.
Once your employer is served by the CSEA, the actual transfer of the payments are no longer your concern- they have taken that responsibility away from you by serving your employer.
In the interim, notify your employer in writing that since they were served with a wage assignment, they have to follow the guidelines of the law, and they must forward the garnishment(s) to CSEA immediately. If they have any questions, politely direct them to contact CSEA to clear the matter up.
Note that generally, an employer cannot hold you responsible in any way for their mistake(s). If they attempt to do so, contact an attorney at once. Your pay stubs showing the garnishment(s) should be sufficient proof that you are doing everything requested of you in paying your support.