Wage garnishments affect many workers in Illinois, and they can have large negative impacts on both the workers and their employers. Complying with wage garnishment orders can be costly for employers, and workers with garnishments may have little left from their checks on which to survive.

In September, the ADP Research Institute released a study of garnishments and their causes across different industries and age groups in the U.S. The researchers found that child support was the leading cause of wage garnishments followed by student and consumer loans, tax levies and bankruptcies.

While 7 percent of Americans have wage garnishments, 71 percent of those who do are men, and 62 percent are between the ages of 35 and 54. Industries with the highest percentages of employees with garnishments include manufacturers and goods producers. Many people have multiple garnishments, placing additional stress on both them and on their employers.

It is important that people who are ordered to pay child support keep current with their payments. When people fall behind on their payments or fail to pay child support, the amounts that they owe do not simply vanish. Child support cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, and balances remain. People who are behind on their child support may face several penalties from the courts. They may face jail time. They may also have garnishments issued against their paychecks, have liens placed against their property and have their tax returns seized. If the financial circumstances of people have changed substantially since they were ordered to pay child support, they might want to talk to family law attorneys about filing motions to modify their support amounts. Until and unless the modifications are granted, they should continue making their payments as originally ordered.