A wage assignment, also called an income withholding order, is when a court directs the employer of a non-custodial parent to deduct the amount of child support from that parent's paycheck. The purpose of the wage assignment is to ensure that the child and custodial parent receives child support money on a timely and continuing basis.
As child support is typically ordered as a monthly amount, a calculation is provided to the employer as to the proper amount to withhold from each paycheck based on whether the employee is paid on a weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or other basis in order to correspond to the monthly amount ordered. For example, if child support was ordered for $200 a month and the employee was paid weekly, then the withholding order would direct the employer to deduct $48.43 from each paycheck for child support. Once the employer deducts the calculated amount from the parent's paycheck, they send that amount to the Support Payment Clearinghouse. The payment is then processed and recorded by the Clearinghouse and is sent on to the custodial parent.
If the non-custodial parent begins a new job, they are responsible for giving the wage assignment to their new employer and are also responsible for notifying the Clerk of the Superior Court and Support Payment Clearinghouse of their new employer's contact information within 10 days.
An employer who fails, without a good cause, to comply with the terms of a wage assignment is liable for amount not paid. The employer may be entitled to charge a small administrative fee for processing the payments, but it is against the law for an employer to fire an employee because of a court-ordered wage assignment for child support.
A wage assignment is not necessary when the non-custodial parent is self-employed, not employed, or does not have a regular source of income. In those circumstances, they are responsible for making payments directly to the Support Payment Clearinghouse.
Contact Owens & Perkins if you have questions regarding your child support payments or wage assignment at (480) 630-2464. We offer a complimentary ½ hour consultation for all family law matters.