Alabama Child Support Collections and Fees
UPDATED: August 16, 2011
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A noncustodial parent assigned an order for Alabama child support garnishment must be aware that any income they receive may be garnished for purposes of Alabama child support collection. This obligation cannot be avoided by terminating work with the employer, as the employer is bound by law to report the employee’s termination, as well as the new employer’s name and address. In addition to garnishing the employee’s wages for child support collections, the employer may deduct a small fee to account for the costs of enforcing the order.
Income Subject to Withholding for Child Support Garnishment
Alabama defines income as wages, salary, commissions, tips, bonuses, disability payments, unemployment or workers’ compensation, retirement plan payments, and any other form of periodic payment. Any source of income is potentially subject to child support garnishment, but some forms of income are expressly made exempt from garnishment. Exemptions are determined in Alabama based on the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA).
Bonuses and Other Lump Sum Payments
While Alabama does not have specific reporting requirements to follow when an employee is owed a lump-sum payment, the employer should contact the agency with any questions:
Phone: (334) 242-9312
Termination of Employment
Upon the employee’s termination, the employer should immediately notify the agency. The employer must send a copy of the order with the following information: company name, employee name and address, date of termination, and if known, the new employer name and address. The employer should also notify the agency when the employee retires. In the case of retirement, the employer should follow the same procedure, as well as inform the agency of the name and address of the pension plan administrator.
For costs associated with child support collection, Alabama allows employers to charge a fee of up to $2 per month. However, employers must deduct this fee from the employee’s wages, not the support payment. The employer should also be aware that the total of the fee and the support payment may never exceed Alabama’s maximum withholding limits.
Penalty for Noncompliance
The court will determine the penalty when an employer does not comply with a support order. The employer may be held in contempt of court and held liable for any unpaid amount.
Alabama State Office of Child Support – Contact Information
Department of Human Resources
Child Support Enforcement Division
P.O. Box 304000
Montgomery, AL 36130-4000
Phone: (334) 242-9300
Fax: (334) 242-0606