Garnishing Child Support from a Paycheck

MoneyOne of the first questions someone receiving child support asks is, “Can I get it garnished from his paycheck?” The answer is “yes.”  Technically, it is “withheld”  (not garnished) via a “Notice to Withhold Income” that is sent to the obligor’s employer along with the court order that says there is an obligation to pay child support.

Once the employer receives the Notice and the child support order, it is obligated to withhold the income and send it to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (“the SDU”). The Notice and child support order will typically provide that the support is withheld in accordance with the employee’s pay schedule. When the payment reaches the SDU, it then disburses the funds to the obligee. In most cases, this system will assure timely payments. It not only protects the person receiving the money but also the person paying it since the agency keeps an accounting of all payments.

Obligors sometimes do not want this method of automatic payment implemented, for a variety of reasons (e.g. embarrassment, administrative inconvenience) . However, there is nothing punitive about it, and the person receiving support has a right to be paid through the SDU if he or she wishes.

Sometimes parties agree to electronically  debit the funds from one account to the other. That method can be tampered with at any time by the person paying while the withholding system cannot be.

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