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Child support is the leading reason for wage garnishment in U.S.

When noncustodial parents in Texas are unable to meet child support obligations, one possible method of collection is wage garnishment. Roughly 7 percent of Americans have money automatically subtracted from their paychecks for garnishment purposes, according to data collected by a leading research institute. It's a process that's sometimes a source of stress for both employees and employers. However, garnishment is not the same across all job sectors and geographic locations.

The data shows that the largest percentage of instances of wage garnishment involved middle-aged men in the Midwest between the ages of 35 and 55 working in manufacturing-related occupations. Out of the four types of garnishment studied, child support topped the list as the most common type of garnishment. Women typically have their wages garnished due to student or consumer debt obligations, but it's often men who have part of their earnings reduced each pay period because of support delinquencies.

Nationwide, employees with garnished wages have an average of 1.4 obligations. Goods-producing companies tend to see higher rates of garnishment. The data shows that smaller companies are more likely to have employees who are getting their wages reduced because of child support issues. For employees, the reduction in take-home pay may become an increased source of financial stress. For employers, there's a need to ensure compliance with laws governing wage garnishment. Wages are normally garnished through a court order, with the deductions continuing until the support obligation is fully satisfied.

When there is a failure to pay child support, an attorney may attempt to resolve the issue without turning to state and local agencies or the court. But if efforts to develop a mutually acceptable repayment schedule fail, a lawyer may recommend taking steps to initiate the wage garnishment process. In some cases, it may be possible for a delinquent child support payer to have a support agreement modified for legitimate reasons -- e.g., losing a job or starting a new job that pays significantly less than the previous one.

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