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Child Support/Garnishment in Oklahoma

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  • Child Support/Garnishment in Oklahoma

    I have an interesting problem here in Oklahoma and hope someone can help. I am a NCP of two children, and pay $665.87 a month in CS (almost half of my net income), garnished directly from my paycheck. I have never been late with my CS payment (no choice anyway, they are directly garnished to the state), and am living very modestly to help take care of my kids.

    I also have been in collection for a medical debt which occurred in 1998 - I was just starting graduate school when I needed surgery for a broken leg, followed by two more surgeries for a staph infection received in the initial surgery. I had no insurance as a new graduate student just barely "getting by" with my modest stipend and part-time work. I was not married at the time and didn't have my kids until 2001 and 2002.

    I was being garnished $75 a paycheck ($162.50 a month) to a law firm representing the collection agency. The medical debt garnishment continued until late September, when the CS was started. I believed that the $75 a check garnishment was discontinued because the laws in Oklahoma state that no more than 50% can be garnished from income for CS, and no more than 25% for most other debts. Since I was paying nearly 50% of my net to CS, I thought that no more could be legally taken out of my checks.

    Apparently, the law firm just thought I "wasn't paying them anymore" so they took $2865 from my checking account without my consent. This is money I have been able to save by selling nearly everything I own, reselling bargains from estate sales and swap meets on eBay, and a small inheritance from my recently deceased father. The law firm asked the bank for $7800, but the bank apparently just gave them all the money in my account at that time. I found out about the withdrawal by checking my online banking website, which I do daily. When I contacted the law firm, they said I should have continued to pay them from what was left over after CS, and they aren't required to notify me before taking all the money out of my personal bank account. They said they would talk with their client (the collection agency) about possibly giving me SOME of the money back (yeah, sure...).

    So my question is this, hopefully directed toward someone familiar with the relevant laws. Can a law firm representing a collection agency legally just call your bank and take your money this way without your consent? Is it true that your total garnishment from income shouldn't exceed 50% of your net? I'm sorry if this question is a bit removed from CS law, but it was the CS order that pushed my garnishment "over the edge" in the first place, and I'm not sure where to go from here. I have $4.32 left in my bank account, and about $30 in my pocket with rent coming due at the end of the month. I have also been paying $75 a month for my 5 year old son's karate classes, and would be devastated to have to pull him out of them because I can't pay for it - he has severe OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and the karate classes are helping him tremendously.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated...

  • #2
    I try to help I live in michigan and my mother in law had a past due amount to a doctor and they went in and garnished all in her accout it was like 800.00 and yes they do have the right to do that just like Child support has the right to wipe your account when you are behind.


    • #3
      I apologize this is just a guess. While they can't garnish more than 50% of your income, someone who has a judgement against you and is garnishing can take any of your savings, assets, etc. So they aren't considering that your savings was part of your monthly income - You may have saved part of it from your income (what was left over anyway), but having it sit in savings is an asset. Especially if you say you got the savings by selling items, that is money from selling your assets, which they are entitled to if they have a judgement against you. In the future, if you want to have a savings, you need to keep it in cash until you've caught up on anything your behind on (collections).