Child support largest cause of wage garnishments

A middle-aged male worker at a Minnesota manufacturing plant has a high chance of having his wages garnished. A study that looked at the payroll data of 12 million workers nationwide in 2016 revealed that 26 percent of Midwestern men ages 35 to 55 employed in manufacturing had their wages garnished for one reason or another, and it was often child support arrearages.

Nationwide, 7 percent of all workers have payroll deductions go directly to creditors or beneficiaries. Courts order most of these garnishments, and child support accounts for the bulk of them at 3 percent of garnished workers. Student loans, credit cards, taxes or other debts represent other reasons for mandatory payroll deductions.

Among workers paying these obligations, the overwhelming majority, 71 percent, are men. They typically owe child support. Female workers generally have garnishments for consumer debts or student loans. Regardless of gender, middle age corresponds strongly with the presence of wage garnishments with 62 percent of all people subject to the deductions falling between age 35 and 54.

Someone who has not been able to collect child support after a divorce could approach an attorney for assistance. Initially, an attorney might contact the other party and remind that person of the legal obligation to pay. If the person who owes the money has a job, then the attorney could petition the court to set up a wage garnishment. An attorney could prepare the court filings that describe the extent of unpaid support. The terms of the divorce settlement could also serve as evidence of the amounts owed.

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