When someone falls behind on paying you their required spousal or child support, you can take action against them. You have the option to file a complaint with the court, and the delinquent payor can face consequences.
There are many potential penalties for missing support payments in South Carolina. One of these is wage garnishment.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
When someone falls behind on their financial obligations, the creditor can take money directly from the debtor’s paychecks. In some cases, this includes entities that loaned the debtor money. In others, it can include missed child and spousal support payments.
These garnished wages are directly held back by the debtor’s employer. However, this employer cannot simply garnish wages upon the creditor’s request. They must receive an official court order to start holding money back.
How Are Wages Garnished?
The debtor’s employer holds money from the debtor’s paycheck and pays it directly to the creditor. Before doing so, they must contact the debtor in writing, and the garnishment must be court-ordered.
The garnishment is based on the debtor’s disposable income. The debtor still pays their taxes and other legally required expenses directly from their paycheck, too.
The debtor should not attempt to retaliate against an employer who garnishes their wages. The employer is operating under court order, effectively having no choice but to withhold money. Furthermore, retaliation can lead to further legal trouble for the debtor.
Wage Garnishment for Child and Spousal Support
South Carolina courts can garnish the wages of someone who is behind on spousal support or child support payments.
With a child support wage garnishment, the state follows a specific formula:
- If the debtor is supporting multiple spouses or children, the state can take up to 50% of their disposable income.
- If the debtor is not supporting multiple spouses or children, the state can take up to 60% of their disposable income.
- If the debtor is more than 12 weeks overdue on payments, the state can take an additional 5% of their disposable income.
Can the Delinquent Payor Fight Their Wage Garnishment?
Generally, a debtor must live with a garnishment until they are caught up. Spousal and child support payments cannot be discharged in most bankruptcies.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however, could help alleviate a wage garnishment. This form of bankruptcy allows someone to catch up on their debts, including any past support obligations.
Talk to a Skilled Attorney
If you are struggling because of payments you haven’t received, talk to a lawyer. They can help you collect the evidence you need to plead to the courts, helping you get what you are owed.
Alternatively, if you are having a hard time keeping up with payments, an attorney can help you as well. They can help you plead for a support modification, negotiate a plan to get you caught up, and more.
Support payments should not be an undue burden on either the payor or the receiver. A good lawyer can help you reach a peaceful resolution that is better for everyone involved.
Our firm is here to help with child support and alimony issues. If you need help, schedule a free consultation with us today. You can use our online contact form or call us now at (803) 938-4952.