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High number of wage garnishments for child support

Some North Carolina parents who are not receiving the child support they are supposed to get may turn to the court system for help. This could result in the parent who is not paying support being the subject of a wage garnishment. A study by the ADP Research Institute found that about 7 percent of workers throughout the country had had their wages garnished in 2016, and the most common reasons were unpaid child support closely followed by consumer and student loans and back taxes. More than 70 percent of workers with wage garnishments were men, and a significant majority of those garnishments were for unpaid child support.

According to the study, garnished wages were more common among workers at companies in the South and Midwest than in other places. This was consistent with the additional finding that goods-producing companies had more employees with wage garnishments than the service sector since these regions have more goods-producing companies. The study also found that among large manufacturing company workers in the Midwest ages 35 to 55, there were wage garnishments for roughly one-quarter of them.

It generally takes a court order to set up a wage garnishment, and the garnishment usually continues until the debt is paid off. Companies must be prepared to comply with these court orders.

Wage garnishment is usually not the first step for a parent or child enforcement agency attempting to collect delinquent child support payments, but in some cases, it may be the only way to get the necessary payments. Family law courts make decisions based on the best interests of the child, and this means that the child's needs will override the inconvenience that child support payments may present to a parent. However, if a parent is genuinely unable to pay support because of a change in material circumstances like a job loss, the court may approve a child support modification.

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