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Garnishing wages and child support

Some people in San Jose may be among the many workers whose wages are being garnished for child support, student loans or consumer debt. According to a study released on Sept. 27 by the ADP Research Institute, 7 percent of people throughout the country have their wages garnished. Usually, garnishments happen as the result of a court order.

Men disproportionately have their wages garnished at 71 percent of garnishments, and this is largely due to child support. The study also found that more than one-quarter of men who are ages 35 to 55 and who work at manufacturing companies in the Midwest have their wages garnished. At 3 percent, child support is also the most common reason for wage garnishment.

The study looked at anonymous pay information from 12 million employees. It found that companies that produce goods have a higher garnishment rate at 10 percent compared to 7 percent in the service sector. Wage garnishments can be stressful for employees and costly for employers in terms of compliance.

Unfortunately, in some cases, wage garnishments may be the only way to collect child support. A person who is supposed to receive child support but who is not being paid can go through the local or state child support enforcement agency to get the order enforced. In some cases, a paying parent might need to reduce the amount of child support paid because of a change in circumstances such as a job loss. If this happens, the parent should go through the court system to ask for a child support modification. Even if the couple agrees on the change, if there is a court order in place, the parent will be legally required to pay the same amount until a modification is approved.