Wage garnishment can be a source of stress for both employers and employees in California. Nationwide, about 7 percent of U.S. workers have their regular paychecks garnished according to data compiled by a leading research institute. Of the four types of garnishment studied, which were child support, tax levies, bankruptcy and other, it was child support that topped the list as the most common reason for wage garnishment. Middle-aged workers 35 to 55 years of age account for more than 60 percent of earnings-related garnishments, and employees in manufacturing occupations in the Midwest are affected most.

Women are more likely to have their wages garnished because of student or consumer debt. However, men typically have part of their wages withheld due to child support delinquencies. On a national level, workers with wage garnishments have an average of 1.4 obligations each, a figure that’s lower in the Northeast and highest in Virginia. Goods-producing companies tend to have more employees with their wages automatically reduced than those running service-oriented businesses. Midwest and Southern states usually have more manufacturing jobs, which possibly accounts for the higher wage garnishment rates in these areas.

Overall, smaller companies are more likely to employ workers having their wages garnished because of child support issues. While employees can be impacted by garnishment, employers can be equally affected since they have to handle wage garnishments in a way that’s dictated by applicable state and federal guidelines. It’s often a court that orders wage garnishment. With child support payments, the order typically remains in effect until back support is fully paid.

Not every child support dispute requires wage garnishment as a solution. Often, a lawyer first makes an attempt to resolve the issue without having to turn to the court or the California Department of Child Support Services for further action. Barring valid reasons for not making support payments, such as having a job that pays less than the original one or being temporarily out of work due to illness, an attorney may take steps to initiate wage garnishment if efforts to resolve the issue amicably among affected parties are not successful.