Strict Compliance for Withholding Garnishment Notices

Receiving court ordered child support or alimony through wage garnishment  is a difficult process. In fact, an Illinois woman recently learned the hard way that the simple mistake of not including the proper social security number within a garnishment notice can result in invalid notice.

Withholding GarnishmentsThe Case of Schultz v. Performance Lighting Inc

 In Schultz the plaintiff’s attorney submitted a wage garnishment notice to her ex-spouse’s employer. However, this notice of withholding did not include the ex-spouse’s social security number, and it did not include other information specifically required under the Illinois Income Withholding for Support Act. The wage garnishment was never instituted by the employer. Two years later the spouse filed suit against Performance Lighting under a provision of the Act that charged a penalty of $100 per day against any employer who failed to comply with a garnishment court order after being serviced with a notice that was “regular on its face.”

Why Schultz Lost

 Both the lower Illinois courts and the superior court of Illinois all found that an employer’s duty to withhold wages is only triggered upon receiving a notice that complies with federal and state legal standards. In Schultz, a withholding notice was not considered “regular on its face” because it did not include the necessary information as enumerated under both state and federal law. It was also found that the state act necessitates strict compliance with all provisions because of the use of the word “shall.” As a result of these findings, Performance Lighting was held not to have a duty to garnish the ex-spouse’s wages, and the court did not impose liability for monetary penalties requested by the plaintiff.

The plaintiff in Schultz probably would have received the garnished wages she requested if her attorney had submitted a completed withholding notice that had been regular on its face. Instead of taking any chances, you should contact the professional family law attorneys here at the small business law attorneys here at the Gierach Law Firm here in Naperville, Illinois for competent assistance with any of your child support and other family law related issues.