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Most parents that are responsible for paying child support do so consistently without issue. They know that on the first day of the month, every other week, or every time they get paid, they are required to pay a certain amount of money to their former spouse for the care of their children.
However, there are some parents who make the process a lot more complicated, choosing to be delinquent on a frequent basis or to not pay at all. In circumstances like this, the court or county child protective services can force the parent to relinquish a part of their wages through a garnishment process each time child support is due.
If you are experiencing issues with receiving child support please contact the JacksonWhite family law team. We have been helping Arizona families with their legal issues for decades and have over 35 years of combined experience dealing with child support cases. You can contact us by filling out a form online or giving us a call at (480) 467-4348.
The Court Can Garnish Child Support Payments
When the court steps in and has to garnish child support payments, they typically do so by pulling the money directly from the paycheck of the person responsible for these payments. The person paying child support never sees this money, instead the employer for this parent is sent a notification from the court that money needs to be paid on a specific date, the amount that is to be paid, and for how long these payments are to occur.
If that parent moves jobs, the new employer will be informed as well. In fact, it is often the requirement of the parent paying child support to notify the court that a change in job has occurred so that the new employer can be served with the proper court order for the continuation of the garnishment.
In some counties, garnishment is the procedure used with all parents paying child support. To avoid any kind of issue related to late payments or issues with payment, the money is just taken out to avoid any issues that could possibly arise.
Situations Where Too Much Child Support is Being Paid
When one parent is paying child support directly to the other, you can be sure that the parent paying support is well aware of exactly what they owe and when those payments come to an end. Whenever the child reaches the age of 18 (or 21 if the court orders that way) they know that they are no longer required to pay support.
However, there can be times where child support that is paid to the county is taken in excess of what is owed by the one parent. It can occur because the amount owed is reduced at some point, or because the child has reached the age where child support is no longer needed to be paid, but money was still removed from their check through the garnishment process.
In this case, what happens is that the county or state agency responsible for collecting the child support will send the excess money back in the form of a child support refund check. This check will include all money that has been paid in excess, but no interest or penalty will be paid to the person receiving the refund.
The most common circumstance of this occurring is when the amount of child support taken out was for an entire month’s period of time, but the child reached the age of 18 somewhere before the 31st. A refund is required at that point for the number of days that the parent was no longer required to pay child support.
What to Do If Your Paychecks Are Still Being Garnished
If you have reached the point where you are no longer required to pay child support, but they are still taking this amount out of your check, then you need to contact the agency responsible for the garnishment and inform them of their mistake. Make sure you have the proper documentation that shows when the period of support is supposed to end so that it can be handled immediately. In the vast majority of cases, you will find that there is no issue once you have brought the error to their attention.
However, this is not always the case. Some agencies will continue to garnish the money or can take an extended period of time to resolve the issue. This puts a financial hardship on you, especially if you were counting on the fact that this garnishment was going to finish soon.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
It is imperative that you contact an attorney to assist you with this matter. The attorney may be required to file a petition with the court to get a judge’s order that ceases any further payments for support. As part of the order, the judge will order that any excess money paid through the garnishing process will be returned to the parent paying child support.
This process can take a few weeks or maybe even a couple of months to finally get resolved, you can be sure that if you have the proper documentation from the start, it will be resolved in your favor. Why this is being mentioned is to ensure that you don’t allow your emotions to become excessive to the point of trying to take action into your own hands.
Understand that everyone makes mistakes, and there can be instances where the people at child services make them as well. Usually, they are quick to fix these mistakes but, even if they are not, you can be sure it will be resolved properly at some point.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.
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