Oklahoma provides plenty of tools for a parent to enforce a child support obligation. These tools cover a wide variety of possible situations. It is important to use the tools that most fit your particular situation. Garnishment is one such tool. It is also sometimes referred to as a wage assignment.
Garnishment is a tool that is easy to use and is most appropriate when the person you are seeking to collect from works at a regular job and receives wages that go through a regular payroll process. Your Okmulgee child support attorney can help you start the process and answer your questions about it.
How Garnishment Works
Oklahoma law makes a child support order into a judgment. That is important, because a judgment is needed to collect against a person.
Once the court issues the child support order, the person receiving child support, usually the custodial parent, can use that order to collect. There is some accompanying paperwork that must be filled out before the order goes to the employer. Judges are usually happy to sign any needed paperwork to have their orders enforced.
The parent does not have to have a separate hearing before a judge to determine how much they can collect. Also, that parent doesn’t have to wait until an arrearage accrues.
Oklahoma law makes garnishment or wage assignment the tool of choice for the collection of child support. It must be used unless there is a good reason not to or both parents waive it.
The child support order is served upon the employer. Once served, the employer will automatically withhold the garnishment amount from the paycheck, up to an allotted percentage. This amount may be less than the amount of the child support order because of the cap on the withholding amount.
Caps On Garnishment
The cap on a garnishment amount is usually called an exemption. Exemption amounts for child support garnishments vary depending on the amount owed, any arrearages owed, and whether the parent’s check must go toward other garnishments such as other child or spousal support.
Usually, the amount is capped at somewhere between 50% and 65% of the parent’s income. If the parent is at least 12 weeks behind and there are no other people being supported, a custodial parent may sometimes collect up to 65% of the check.
Other Tools For Other Situations
Garnishment is a good tool to use with a regularly employed parent. But there are other tools for other situations. It is helpful to consult with an experienced Okmulgee family law attorney to determine the best plan for you. Each case is different.
Other tools include a contempt of court citation (may be helpful when a parent doesn’t work regularly and is local); revocation or denial of licenses or passports; a levy on other property the parent owns (including bank accounts); or a tax return interception. An experienced Okmulgee child support attorney can best advise you regarding your situation.
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