If your spouse, or soon-to-be-ex spouse, is not making court-ordered child
support or spousal support payments on time, your most straight forward
option is wage garnishment.
First, you need to carefully evaluate the court order that established
the payments. Does it provide a payment deadline? Typical language usually
provides for one-half the total support award to be paid on the first
of the month, and one-half the support award to be paid on the fifteenth
of the month (this is meant to coincide with standard pay cycles).
Note: If the court has not previously ordered support to be paid and your
spouse is simply making voluntary payments, you need to make sure that
this obligation is memorialized in writing and properly ordered by the
court. This is essential!
Second, assuming that a valid court order has established a support obligation,
you need to determine whether it is feasible to have the support payments
garnished directly from your ex's employer. Garnishment is established
with an Income Withholding Order (an "IWO"). An IWO must be
prepared by you and submitted to the court for signature, with a copy
of the IWO served on your ex. Once the IWO is signed by the Court, it
can be served on your ex's employer. From there, the employer is under
court order to garnish the current and past-due support, if requested,
directly from his or her paycheck. The IWO will remain in effect until
it is amended or terminated, or until your ex stops working for the employer.
You are entitled to seek an IWO at any time. Sometimes, in negotiated agreements,
it is not uncommon to limit the payee's ability to seek garnishment
unless it can be established that support payments are being paid late.
If your court order provides for such delay, you will need to create a
record of late payments made. If your court order is silent as to this
issue, you are free to seek an IWO to secure your support.
To discuss your legal needs,
call The Buncher Law Corporation today.