110-136. Garnishment for enforcement of child-support obligation.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, in any case in which a responsible parent is under a court order or has entered into a written agreement pursuant to G.S. 110-132 or 110-133 to provide child support, a judge of the district court in the county where the mother of the child resides or is found, or in the county where the father resides or is found, or in the county where the child resides or is found may enter an order of garnishment whereby no more than forty percent (40%) of the responsible parent's monthly disposable earnings shall be garnished for the support of his minor child. For purposes of this section, "disposable earnings" is defined as that part of the compensation paid or payable to the responsible parent for personal services, whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus, or otherwise (including periodic payments pursuant to a pension, retirement, or other deferred compensation program) which remains after the deduction of any amounts required by law to be withheld. The garnishee is the person, firm, association, or corporation by whom the responsible parent is employed.

(b) The mother, father, custodian, or guardian of the child or any designated representative interested in the support of a dependent child may move the court for an order of garnishment. The motion shall be verified and shall state that the responsible parent is under court order or has entered into a written agreement pursuant to G.S. 110-132 or 110-133 to provide child support, that said parent is delinquent in such child support or has been erratic in making child-support payments, the name and address of the employer of the responsible parent, the responsible parent's monthly disposable earnings from said employer (which may be based upon information and belief), and the amount sought to be garnished, not to exceed forty percent (40%) of the responsible parent's monthly disposable earnings. The motion for the wage garnishment order along with a motion to join the alleged employer as a third-party garnishee defendant shall be served on both the responsible parent and the alleged employer in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 1A-1, Rules of Civil Procedure. The time period for answering or otherwise responding to pleadings, motions and other papers issued pursuant to this section shall be in accordance with the time periods set forth in G.S. 1A-1, Rules of Civil Procedure, except that the alleged employer third-party garnishee shall have 10 days from the date of service of process to answer both the motion to join him as a defendant garnishee and the motion for the wage garnishment order.

(b1) In addition to the foregoing method for instituting a continuing wage garnishment proceeding for child support through motion, the mother, father, custodian, or guardian of the child or any designated representative interested in the support of a dependent child may in an independent proceeding petition the court for an order of continuing wage garnishment. The petition shall be verified and shall state that the responsible parent is under court order or has entered into a written agreement pursuant to G.S. 110-132 or 110-133 to provide child support, that said parent is delinquent in such child support or has been erratic in making child-support payments, the name and address of the alleged-employer garnishee of the responsible parent, the responsible parent's monthly disposable earnings from said employer (which may be based on information and belief), and the amount sought to be garnished, not to exceed forty percent (40%) of the responsible parent's monthly disposable earnings. The petition shall be served on both the responsible parent and his alleged employer in accordance with the provisions for service of process set forth in G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4. The time period for answering or otherwise responding to process issued pursuant to this section shall be in accordance with the time periods set forth in G.S. 1A-1, Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) Following the hearing held pursuant to this section, the court may enter an order of garnishment not to exceed forty percent (40%) of the responsible parent's monthly disposable earnings. If an order of garnishment is entered, a copy of same shall be served on the responsible parent and the garnishee either personally or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. The order shall set forth sufficient findings of fact to support the action by the court and the amount to be garnished for each pay period. The amount garnished shall be increased by an additional one dollar ($1.00) processing fee to be assessed and retained by the employer for each payment under the order. The order shall be subject to review for modification and dissolution upon the filing of a motion in the cause.

(d) Upon receipt of an order of garnishment, the garnishee shall transmit without delay to the State Child Support Collection and Disbursement Unit the amount ordered by the court to be garnished. These funds shall be disbursed to the party designated by the court which in those cases of dependent children receiving public assistance shall be the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

(e) Any garnishee violating the terms of an order of garnishment shall be subject to punishment as for contempt. (1975, c. 827, s. 1; 1977, 2nd Sess., c. 1186, ss. 11, 12; 1979, c. 386, ss. 1-8; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1047, s. 1; 1985, c. 660, s. 2; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1999-293, s. 17.)