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Demographics of wage garnishment for child support

Ohio workers and other workers in the Midwest may be more likely to have their wages garnished than workers in other parts of the country. These were among the findings of a study conducted by the ADP Research Institute that was released on Sept. 27. The study found that more than 70 percent of garnishments were of men's wages and that those garnishments were largely for failure to pay child support. Women's wages tended to be garnished for other types of debt such as student loans.

The study identified men ages 35 to 55 who lived in the Midwest and made an average of $44,000 per year working at large manufacturing jobs as a likely demographic for wage garnishments. They were also more common among workers in the South. Both the South and the Midwest have more goods-producing employers, and these industries were more likely than the service sector to have wage garnishments.

Wage garnishments are usually the result of a court order, and they usually continue until a debt is paid. However, they can be stressful for the targeted employees and may create compliance issues for employers.

Child support is generally decided by a family law court, and income is a major factor in the amount that must be paid. A person who cannot keep up with child support payments because of a drop in income or an increase in expenses should not simply stop paying. This can lead to the person falling into arrears and possibly having to pay penalties and interest. A court may grant a child support modification. If the other parent is not receiving child support, the local child support enforcement agency may assist with collecting that support. However, wage garnishments usually happen only after other attempts have failed.

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