The two most common types of support orders in family law are for child support and spousal support. A child support order, for example, specifies a certain amount of money to be paid per month for the support of a child. In a bad economy, there can be many existing support orders that go unpaid. A piece of paper in hand does not always mean cash in hand. One common remedy to enforce a support order is to garnish wages from the party who owes the support. Whether you owe support, are the employer of a person who owes support, or are seeking the enforcement of a support order, it is important to understand what your rights, responsibilities and obligations are regarding wage garnishment.
Wage garnishment can either be voluntary or involuntary. For example, wage garnishment is a tool that can be used to collect support from a party who is willfully evading a court order. Likewise, a parent will often stipulate to have child support garnished from their paycheck to ensure the steady delivery of child support and a clear accounting. Nevada law allows for a maximum garnishment of 50% of one’s disposable earnings for a workweek if the person against whom support is sought is “supporting a spouse or child other than a spouse or child for whom the order of support was rendered.” NRS 31.295. Disposable earnings are “that part of the earnings…after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required by law to be withheld.” Typically this will mean a person’s net income, not their gross income.
An employer who fails to comply with a lawful garnishment order or misrepresents the earnings of a garnishee can face civil penalties under Nevada law. NRS 31.297. Nevada law offers legal protections to employers who lawfully comply with a garnishment order against certain claims of the employee who is the subject of the garnishment order. Nevada law further forbids an employer from discharging or disciplining an employee for the mere fact that the employer had to deal with a garnishment issue. NRS 31.298.
Whether you are a party to a family court case, or just the employer of one of the parties, support orders and garnishment orders can have an effect on you. The knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys at Kring & Chung, LLP are here to assist individuals and businesses in navigating what can be the tricky waters of the family court.
Evan D. Schwab is an Associate with Kring & Chung, LLP’s Las Vegas, NV office. He can be contacted at (702) 260-9500 or [email protected].