Alabama Wage Garnishment: Alabama Child Support Garnishment

The process for Alabama wage garnishment begins after an order for child support collection is served on the noncustodial parent’s employer. The employer must enforce child support garnishment until the date listed on the order, or until the agency notifies them that the order is satisfied. Further, the employer must abide by Alabama wage garnishment laws to ensure that payment is remitted in a timely fashion. Payments can be remitted through the Alabama Central Disbursement Division. This article explains the basics of Alabama child support collection.

Alabama Child Support Collection

An order of support is a decree or judgment issued by a court or agency of competent jurisdiction and can include payment for the support of a minor child, medical support, arrearages, and also spousal support. However, the order for support can only include spousal support if it is collected by the Department of Human Resources (or the department’s designee) pursuant to the requirements of Title 24 IV-D of the Social Security Act. An order is binding fourteen days after it is served, and continues until it expires.

Who Withholds the Money 

An order for support, served on the noncustodial parent’s employer, requires the employer to garnish wages earned by the noncustodial parent. After the employer is served with the order, they should contact the issuing agency within fourteen days of receipt and provide the following information: the employee’s disposable earnings, how often the employee is paid, and either confirmation that the amount stated in the order will be withheld, or that a reduced amount will be withheld because the payment exceeds the maximum withholding limits. In this case, the agency may refer the case back to the courts for judicial determination. If the employer does not employ the noncustodial parent, or owe the parent any money, the employer has 14 days to notify the agency.

When is Money Withheld

An employer should begin withholding for the first pay period that occurs within fourteen working days after the date on the order. The employer should continue to withhold and remit within seven working days of each payday. The agency credits payments when received, not when withheld. If the order only states a monthly amount due, and the employee gets paid more often than this, the employer must still remit a payment for every payday. To calculate the proper deduction amount, the employer should multiply the monthly amount by twelve and divide by the number of paydays per year. The employer is to make payments to the Alabama Child Support Payment Center, via the Alabama Central Disbursement Division, for all cases being enforced by the Alabama child support agency, as well as any cases not enforced by the agency if the issuing date on the order is January 1, 1994 or later.

Alabama accepts payment both by check and by Electronic Funds transfer (EFT/EDI) in either the Cash Concentration and Disbursement (CCD+) format, or the Corporate Trade Exchange (CTX) format. An employer may combine multiple payments, but must identify each employee by name, Social Security number, pay date, amount withheld and remitted, and the court order number as well as the issuing county.

Out-of-State Orders 

Alabama, like all other states, has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA; Title 30, Chapter 3A). UIFSA mandates that an employer enforce an order that they receive from out-of-state. When determining how to define disposable earnings, the withholding limits, when to remit payment, how to allocate orders, the administrative fees that may be charged, and what must be reported when the employee terminates employment, the employer should abide by the laws of the employee’s work state. However, when determining where to remit payment, the duration of the order, and the amount to withhold, the employer should follow the issuing state’s laws.