Does an Income Deduction Order or Wage Garnishment Work for Alimony and Child Support in Florida?

1043017_success1_srb.jpgFlorida divorce and child support laws dictate what may be paid in alimony and child support based on the facts of each case and incomes of the parties. Often, the paying party does not like the idea of writing a monthly check and the receiving party does not like worrying about whether the check is actually in the mail. Florida divorce and child support clients often ask their lawyer if there is another option and thankfully for both sides, the answer is, “Yes.” Florida Statute61.1301

An income deduction order basically garnishes the wages of the paying party per the payment agreement or order that was entered with the court. For example if you are ordered to pay child support at $300 per month and alimony at $100 per month, then the order will reflect when those payments will be made and to whom. If there is an income deduction order, then wages are garnished before you actually receive your paycheck and the money is automatically sent to the State Disbursement Unit.
Just as the paying party has an account, the receiving party has an account with the State Disbursement Unit and that account has to be set-up by the receiving party. The payments will then be made by check or they can go into an account, which the receiving party will receive a debit card for and that money can then be accessed like it’s own bank account.

If a the paying party is paid once per month, twice per month, or weekly, the order will actually reflect how the payments will be divided at each pay period. There is a nominal fee associated with an income deduction order and the party responsible for paying the support pays that fee. The ease of the service is that the parties do not have to speak each month or worry that they are not receiving credit for their payments because the state keeps an accounting of everything for them. This is helpful if an issue ever arises where one party claims that payments have not been made because you can actually get a print out of the accounting and provide that to the court if a Motion for Contempt is ever filed. Also, it gives some ease to budgeting because the money is automatically removed or given, so there is no question as to when the money may or may not hit your account each month.

The other nicety is that there is peace-of-mind for having the money going through a third party accounting system because there are assurances that your money is being received. Having an income deduction order also lessens the possibility of returning to court for nonpayment because the case is harder to prove for the receiving party when the State is keeping track of each penny in and out. Also, if you ever remarry, then there are not issues of that money having been there and then each month your new spouse watching it deplete from your account, which often does bring new stresses to a relationship, especially when it comes to alimony payments.

If you are going through a divorce or child support case, then it is a good idea to speak with a family lawyer about your rights and options regarding payment of child support or alimony.