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Wage garnishment limits for child support in CA

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Family Law

If a person is behind on child support, a state child support enforcement agency may contact his or her employer and ask it to withhold wages. While legal to request the withholding of wages, enforcement agencies may ask employers to withhold only so much.

The Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act determines the withholding limits for consumers across the country. The Office of Child Support Enforcement explains the child support withholding limits in brief.

Child support withholding limits

Per the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act, states may only withhold so much of a payee’s paycheck for child support. The limits are as follows:

  • 50% of the disposable income of persons who have second families to care for
  • 60% of the disposable income of persons who do not have second families to care for

For every case in which the arrears — or past due payments — are 12 weeks or more, the state can increase the garnishment amount by 5%, to 55% and 65% respectively. However, state law may limit garnishment amounts to less than the federally mandated amounts.

How wage garnishment assignments work

Per the California Courts, if the courts determine that a case qualifies for wage garnishment, it will contact the payee’s employer to inform it of how much to deduct from his or her paycheck each pay period. If a wage order is in place for a regularly employed individual, the employer has a legal obligation to withhold payments from the employee’s paycheck. If the employee has other wage assignments in place, the employer must withhold child support first. All other obligations are secondary, including spousal support.

Wage garnishment for child support can prove costly for parents who have arrears. For this reason, it may prove beneficial for payees to seek help with their cases.