It is never easy to break up a family, but when it is the right decision for you and your children, you want it to go as smoothly as possible. Depending on the custody agreement that has been reached, you may be owed child support. Sometimes, these arrangements are fairly amicable, and you do not have to worry about getting the money you need for your children. Regardless of individual situations, however, the state of California will garnish the wages of the parent who owes support in an order called a wage assignment. This means that the parent owing child support will have the payments deducted by his employer and sent to the State Disbursement Unit, which will then issue the payment to the custodial parent.
Does it Have to Be This Way?
California handles child support payments this way so that the parent owing child support cannot avoid paying what he owes, and the children don't suffer. Because payments are deducted before he gets paid, child support is guaranteed for as long as he is employed. However, the process does involve a middle man and compromises your privacy, so it might not be the ideal arrangement for you. If you and your ex can agree on a payment plan and you trust that he will follow through on payments, you can ask the court for a "stay" of the wage assignment. If the court grants the stay, parents will handle the payments between them.
This option is not available if the Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) is involved in your case. The LCSA will be involved if one of the parents is getting public assistance for the child or the child is in foster care. You can also get help from the LCSA to get child support even if you are not on public assistance. While you can ask the LCSA to issue a stay of a wage assignment, it is not likely that they will grant it.
How a Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you have a child support order that you would like to modify in some way, including putting a hold on or setting aside a wage assignment order, contact the Marin County attorneys at Nathan Law Offices to discuss your options. We will draw on our many years of experience to offer advice that protects you and your children after a divorce or separation.