As of July 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports Indiana’s unemployment rate at 8.5 percent. While not all of those unemployed citizens qualify for benefits, the majority of them can collect unemployment benefits from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Regardless of what most claimants think, unemployment is income and, as such, is subject to garnishment due to delinquent child support payments.
Child Support Obligation
The money you pay the custodial guardian of your child is called child support. The custodial guardian can be the child’s other parent or some other legal guardian. While you can come to an oral agreement about your financial obligation, child support is usually through a court order. If you’d like to change the terms of your order in any way, you must go before a judge to do that.
The amount you pay in child support depends on the amount of your income and the child support worksheet formula provided by the Indiana courts. If you refuse to work or intentionally remain underemployed, the courts may determine your potential income and use that to calculate your payments. Indiana provides an online child support calculator for those trying to figure out how much their obligation is (see Resources).
Refiguring Your Payments
If you lose your job and go on unemployment or have some other major life change, you can petition the courts to review your child support order. If your income has changed significantly, you can argue that your payment should be reduced to reflect your new situation. Some people are reluctant to go through the process of requesting a court date and explaining their finances to a judge, but getting the obligation adjusted is better than becoming delinquent on your payments.
Delinquent child support is eligible for garnishment from your unemployment payments. This too requires a court order based on the custodial guardian of your child reporting that you’re behind on the payments. No percentage limitation exists as to how much the state can take from your benefit payments to fulfill your child support order. Your whole check can be used until you’re caught up.