Archive for March, 2011

Arizona Lawyer Discusses Effect of Wage Garnishment By Creditors When Child Support or Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Is Paid

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

In all dissolutions of marriage entered after January 1, 1988, and in any modifications of orders entered after that date, where child support payments are ordered, a wage assignment is automatically entered in favor of the person or agency entitled to receive the support payments. A.R.S. § 25-504(A).

In a proceeding in which spousal maintenance is ordered, the court may enter a wage assignment on either party’s request, but the wage assignment is not mandatory. Id.

Wage assignments issued pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-504, for either child support or spousal maintenance, have priority over all other attachments, executions, garnishments or assignments. A.R.S. §§ 12-1598.14(B) and 25-504(P).

Where a judgment debtor’s earnings become subject to more than one writ of garnishment, and of spousal and child support priority a judgment creditor recovers no nonexempt earnings for two consecutive paydays, the lien on earnings of such judgment creditor is invalid and of no force and effect, and the garnishee shall notify the judgment creditor accordingly. A.R.S. § 12-1598.14(C).

Garnishment limits for creditors (except for child support or spousal support) is up to 25% of a person’s gross wages. For child support and spousal support, the limit is up to 50% of a person’s gross wages.

In some cases, it may be advantageous to ensure that child support or spousal support is being paid by a wage assignment. Because of the priority for child support and spousal support wage garnishments, your income deduction will be going to support your children or ex spouse, which is generally preferable to the money going to a credit card company or other debt collector.

If you would like to discuss child support, spousal support, or other family law issues with an attorney, please call McGuire Gardner, PLLC at (800) 899-2730 or visit our website at YourArizonaDivorceLawyer.com.

Arizona Attorney Discusses Child Support and Spousal Maintenance Issues in Bankruptcy

Monday, March 7th, 2011

As a lawyer with many cases in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona and throughout the state, I often encounter family law cases in which a bankruptcy has been or will be filed. Both parties need to understand what will happen with child support and spousal maintenance in a bankruptcy case.

First, from the point of view of the debtor or person filing bankruptcy in which case the debtor is obligated to pay child support or spousal support: bankruptcy will not discharge an obligation to pay child support or spousal maintenance. Bankruptcy can, in certain cases, discharge or eliminate other types of debts to a spouse or former spouse. However, child support and spousal support will need to be modified or terminated through the family law courts. If you have other debts to a spouse or former spouse which you want to eliminate in bankruptcy, you will need to hire an attorney that can answer your questions and help you through this difficult process. 

Second, still from the point of view of the debtor or person filing bankruptcy, but this time the debtor is receiving child support or spousal support: Your right to collect child support and spousal maintenance is not an asset that can be taken from you in bankruptcy. The income that you receive from actual payment of support will affect your bankruptcy, as more income may make it difficult to qualify to file for certain types of bankruptcy. You will need to ensure that your bankruptcy attorney is aware of any income you are receiving. You should also make sure that your divorce or family law attorney is aware of the status of any bankruptcy or of the potential that you will file for bankruptcy.

Third, from the point of view of the spouse or ex-spouse of a debtor, in which case the debtor is obligated to pay child support or spousal support to that spouse or ex-spouse: there is little to worry about a spouse or ex-spouse filing for bankruptcy as it pertains to child support and spousal support. These debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, meaning the debts will continue to be owed even after your spouse or ex-spouse completes bankruptcy. It may even be beneficial, as your spouse or ex-spouse will eliminate other debts and have more funds available to meet his or her obligations to you. Bankruptcy also gives child support and spousal maintenance a “priority,” meaning they will get paid before most other debts will get paid. However, if your spouse or ex-spouse owes you other money for property issues, or is obligated to pay debts that your name is also on, you will need to contact a bankruptcy attorney that is also familiar with divorce and family law issues to ensure that your rights are protected.

Finally, from the point of view of the spouse or ex-spouse of a debtor, and the spouse or ex-spouse is obligated to pay child support or spousal maintenance to the debtor: your spouse or ex-spouse’s decision to file for bankruptcy does not eliminate your ongoing obligation to pay support. The payments will continue to go to your spouse or ex-spouse, and will not be taken by the bankruptcy court or the bankruptcy trustee. If you need to modify or reduce your child support or spousal support, you will need to contact a family law attorney to assist you.

If you have any questions regarding bankruptcy or family law issues, please contact McGuire Gardner, PLLC by calling (480) 829-9081, or check us out on the web at www.mcguiregardner.com.