A wage assignment is a court order that assigns a certain amount from your wages to another. In child support cases, the money is assigned to the other spouse with the primary physical custody of the child.

But Then What is a Wage Garnishment?

A wage garnishment in child support cases pretty much serves the same function as a wage assignment. Both result in a part of your wages being given to your spouse in order to fund your child’s upbringing. However, wage garnishments are different in that they are always involuntary. Wage assignments can be voluntary or involuntary. 

Can I Request to Pay Child Support Voluntarily?

Many states allow voluntary child support agreements. Voluntary child support agreements contain the specific terms of how and to whom child support payments are made. However, the parents must agree to the terms in the agreement for it to be voluntary. In fact, in California, if both parents can come to an agreement, then the wage assignment can be stayed (put on hold), even if a wage assignment was in place. If the local child support agency gets involved, then the local child support agency must approve the agreement.

When the parents do not agree, the courts default to a mandatory wage assignment or wage garnishment order. 

Can I Ask My Employer Not to Pay?

Short answer: No. A wage assignment is a legally binding order. If the employer ignores the court order, the employer will face legal consequences. For example, the employer may be asked to show up to court to explain why they did not comply with the order. In fact, the employer may even be held liable for the entire child support amount. In short, the employer must follow the wage assignment.

If I Want to Fight the Wage Assignment, Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Disputing the amount of child support payments can be a contentious process. This is especially the case if you and your spouse do not agree on child support matters. An experienced child support attorney can explain the process to you and help represent your interests.