Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Colorado

Q: What happens with the extra money child support takes from your checks when you're paid an 3rd check that month?

If you are ordered to pay $500 in child support and they garnish your checks $250 biweekly to pay it occasionally you get a 3rd check a month and they garnish that one too. That brings you to paying $750 that month. What happens to that extra money and is it even legal to take more than the court order like that?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: It sound like you may have arrears and the third paycheck is being garnished for that reason. You would have to ask Child Support Enforcement. They can provide you with a transcript.

Rebecca Pescador
Rebecca Pescador
  • Westminster, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: The best way to get a clear answer is to talk to Child Support Enforcement. They can tell you what is going on there. If there are arrears owed, that would be one explanation. Start there.

Usually, when child support is garnished, those extra weeks are calculated into it so that the same amount comes out of every check. So when someone is paid every 2 weeks, if the child support order was for $500/month, instead of dividing by 2 and taking $250 every paycheck, they take it to the annual amount and divide by the number of pay periods in a year. If you simply divide by 2, then it would take 24 pay periods to pay the full $6,000 for the year at $250 per paycheck, which works fine if you get paid twice a month. If you get paid every 2 weeks though, then you start with the $6,000 and divide by the number of pay periods in a year, which is 26 when you get paid every 2 weeks, then the amount taken from each paycheck is $230.77. The result is that the recipient is a little short of the full $500 most months, but it all gets made up in those occasions when there is a third check in the month. Over the course of a year, the correct amount is paid and received and the employer gets to take the same amount from each check without having to track whether the whole amount for the month has been paid yet.

If you talk to Child Support Enforcement and learn that they have been taking too much out (for example if you owed arrears but those have now been paid off and the garnishment amount has not been updated) then you can ask to have the garnishment adjusted to the current amount and to be credited for the overpayment. Often, you can accomplish this through Child Support Enforcement. If you hit a roadblock, an experienced family law attorney can help you pursue this through the court.

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