What is an Income Withholding Order?

An Income Withholding Order (IWO) is an order signed by an Alabama judge that is sent to the employer of a person that owes monthly support to another person, so that the amount can be garnished or deducted from their income at regular intervals.  The amount is then taken from the check and sent to the appropriate party.  This can be ordered in child support or spousal support cases.  In either case, an IWO is issued to their employer so that the money comes out of his/her check each time they are paid.Income Withholding Order Alabama

Typically, these orders are issued in child support cases and in divorce cases. An IWO orders the employer to withhold a certain amount from each paycheck for child support and send it directly to either the Alabama Child Support Payment Center (where it gets sent to the custodial parent). It can also order that the employer withhold a certain amount from each paycheck for spousal support if such support has already been ordered in your divorce or legal separation.

Whether it is child support or spousal support that is being withheld, there are certain parts of the IWO that must be filled out correctly. There is a section that states the amount to withhold and what payment cycle the person is on. For example, if someone is ordered to pay $200 per month in child support and they are paid weekly, then the calculations would be $200 multiplied by 12 months which equals $2400. This amount is divided by the number of weeks in the year, 52, which equals $46.15. So, $46.15 would be withheld every week from his/her weekly paycheck.

In the case of child support, the amount withheld is usually sent to the Alabama Child Support Payment Center and eventually finds its way to the custodial parent. In child support cases, the IWO is usually sent to the employer of the parent ordered to pay support. However, in divorce cases where the parties reach an agreement (such as an uncontested divorce) the parents can decide to not have the IWO sent to the employer and for the parent to just pay the other parent directly each month by writing a check, cash, or other method of payment.  This can be done by agreement in a divorce matter, but at any time after your divorce decree is entered one party wants the IWO served on the employer they can do so, usually without having to have the other party’s permission, especially if the payments are late.  

In the case of spousal support or alimony that is paid monthly, an IWO can be issued as well in the divorce, with the process being similar to the process described already for child support cases. There can even be lump sum amounts or payments withheld for spousal or child support, if so ordered by a judge. So that instead of a certain amount coming out of each paycheck, a large, one time amount or lump sum would be withheld from one particular paycheck.  This might be useful if the person is behind and has a large amount of arrears, and they are about to receive a big paycheck such as commission checks or other such windfall payments.

The IWO is issued to the employer in most cases unless both parties reach an agreement that it be paid directly to the other person. If the party changes employment or if the amount of support is altered, then the IWO will need to be amended accordingly.   Both parties can amend it by agreement or one party can file the appropriate motions to amend the order.  Also, if the IWO is to be terminated then the form will need to be sent to the employer stating that it is so terminated.  One or both parties will need to proceed through the court that ordered the IWO in order to terminate it as well. If you have questions about child support being paid out of your check then give our local divorce lawyer a call today.

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