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Can your employer withhold child support arrears?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2020 | Family Law

When it comes to enforcing child support, the state of Arkansas takes its job very seriously. In fact, because child support arrears is such a huge financial problem, the state made it so that all new or newly modified support orders require income withholding, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. By requiring income withholding for all support orders, the state can ensure that all payors will meet their financial obligations without delay and as soon as they themselves receive payment. 

If your employer currently withholds your wages for the purposes of child support, you may have noticed a discrepancy in how much your employer withholds and what the support order says. This is likely because you fell behind on payments and now owe arrears. Is it legal, though, for your employer to withhold more than the order states? 

Provisions that allow your employer to withhold additional money 

Most court orders for child support contain a provision that allows employers to withhold an additional 10% of a person’s paycheck to apply toward child support arrears. A recent change in the law made it so that in some cases, an employer may withhold an additional 20%. Moreover, if a person falls significantly behind on payments, the courts may intervene directly and order that the employer withhold a specific amount for arrearages purposes only. This amount may be greater than 20% of the arrears owed. 

However, you do have some rights. Thanks to the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act, your employer may withhold no more than 50% of your total disposable income if you have a second family. If you do not have a second family, the act limits withholdings to no more than 60% of your total disposable income. If your arrears date back further than 12 weeks, the act increases the limits by 5%, to 55% and 65% respectively.