Mother Seeks Wage Garnishment from Payor for Child Support

Parents here in Georgia have an obligation to provide financially for their children. This is true even in the event of a divorce, where a child may live with one of the parents. It is important that all parents abide by this obligation for the good of their children.

A woman has been embroiled in a legal battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for years concerning whether they are required to withhold income from amounts they send to her ex-husband, a self-employed chiropractor. The ex-husband was ordered to pay $930 per week in child support for the couple's three children. When his payments became sporadic and for lower amounts, the woman requested Blue Cross to garnish the amount from payments they made to her ex-husband. The law in her state says that not only employers are required to garnish wages, but payors as well. Blue Cross refused to abide by the request. An appellate court has ruled that Blue Cross would be considered a payor under the law and that the law specifically pertains to insurance proceeds.

Children have a right to be financially supported by both of their parents. When parents divorce, the typical custody arrangement is for a child to live with one of the parents the majority of the time, the custodial parent, while visiting and spending weekends with the other parent, the non-custodial parent. Child support is a mechanism that allows a court to ensure that a child receives financial support from the non-custodial parent. The state of Georgia applies a shared income method to determining the amount of child support to be paid, using a rate table and factoring in the incomes of both parents, as well as costs associated with health insurance and child care.

Although an amount has been ordered to be paid, it is no guarantee that the non-custodial parent will pay the full amount or pay on time. When this happens, a child enforcement agency or the custodial parent may seek an order to collect past due payment or to ensure that payments will be made correctly in the future. One method of doing so is garnishing a workers wages. A court can order that an employer or payor regularly set aside a certain amount of money from the paycheck of a parent responsible for child support.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Woman battling Blue Cross over child support," Lisa Black, Sep. 1, 2013

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