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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Examining the role played by employers in child support collection

It goes without saying that with divorce comes major life challenges. Indeed, separated spouses must not only find a new place to live and adjust to being on their own once again, but also deal with any lingering emotional fallout from the end of their marriage and accept new responsibilities.

Things can be even more difficult for divorcing spouses with children, however, as they will also have to cope with the truly seismic shift in their family life and perhaps even become accustomed to making regular child support payments.   

It's only natural that any parent ordered to pay child support -- otherwise known as the payor -- would have a host of questions about their responsibilities going forward and how the collection process actually works.

In light of this reality, today's post, the first in a series, will focus on what a payor parent can expect in terms of the legal obligations governing their employer.

Tennessee law dictates that all employers are required to withhold child support payments from the wages/income of employees as dictated by a document known as an Income Withholding Order.

Specifically, an IWO dictates that an employer must start withholding a set amount of child support from an employee's wages/income no later than the first pay period to take place within 14 days of its issuance, and that this amount must be forwarded to the Child Support State Disbursement Unit within seven working days of the employee's payday.

In addition to these requirements, Tennessee employers must also be certain to report the termination of any employee responsible for making child support payments to state officials, as well as any lump sum payments -- bonus, profit sharing, etc. -- received by employees.

Here's hoping the following sheds some much-needed light on the child support payment process for payor parents, such that there are fewer surprises going forward.

We'll continue to examine this topic in future posts. In the meantime, consider consulting with a skilled legal professional if you have any questions or concerns relating to child support, including modification and enforcement.    

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