Title 15
Domestic Relations

Chapter 5
Divorce and Separation

R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-25

§ 15-5-25. Application for wage withholding — Obligor in arrears.

(a)(1) In cases where a wage withholding has not been secured pursuant to § 15-5-24, upon application of the child or of any person having a direct interest in the welfare of the child, or any person to whom support is owed pursuant to court order, the court, pursuant to this section and upon a showing that a support payment has not been made in full within fourteen (14) days of its due date, may order a wage withholding agent of the obligor:

(i) To withhold from the obligor’s income presently due, and from future income as it becomes due, amounts which shall satisfy the obligor’s previous arrearage in support payments, the obligor’s obligation to pay support as it accrues in the future, and any attorney’s fees that may be awarded in a proceeding under this section;

(ii) To deduct from the balance of the obligor’s income a fee of two dollars ($2.00) to cover the employer’s expenses involved in withholding and transmitting the support payment;

(iii) To remit the amount withheld under subsection (a) of this section to the clerk of the family court or other designated remittee entering the order, within seven (7) days of the date of withholding, and to specify the date and amount of each withholding included in the remittance, the social security number of the obligor, the child support account number, the employee’s name, and any other information as required if electronic transfer is utilized. The wage withholding agent may combine withheld amounts from two (2) or more obligors into a single payment, provided that the wage withholding agent separately identifies the individual obligors and the amount attributable to each obligor;

(iv) To refrain from dismissing, disciplining, or in any way penalizing the obligor employee on account of the proceeding to collect support, on account of any order or orders entered by the court in the proceeding, and on account of wage withholding agent compliance with the order or orders; and

(v) To notify, in writing, the clerk of the family court entering the order of the termination of the obligor’s employment and the name and address, if known, of the obligor’s new employer within ten (10) days after termination of employment.

(2) The application may be filed as part of any proceeding brought for failure to make support payments or may be made independently of any other support enforcement action.

(b) Upon the filing of an application for wage withholding the court shall set a time for a hearing. The hearing shall be held within three (3) weeks of the date the application is filed with the court. No wage withholding shall become effective unless the obligor has been given notice, by way of the pleadings or otherwise, of the exemptions to which he or she may be entitled under the law and of the procedure for asserting these exemptions.

(c) The applicant shall then cause to be served on the wage withholding agent a copy of the application, a notice of hearing, and interrogatories to be completed and returned by the wage withholding agent to the court no later than three (3) days prior to the hearing. The interrogatories when completed shall show whether the obligor receives income from or is an employee of the employer, whether the obligor performs work and provides services or makes sales in this state, the present length of employment of the obligor with the wage withholding agent, the present pay period for the obligor, the average earnings of the obligor per pay period, and the name and address of the person, office, or division of the wage withholding agent responsible for the preparation of the obligor’s income payments.

(d) The applicant shall also cause to be served on the obligor a copy of the application and a notice of hearing.

(e) Service under this section shall be personally or by mailing by registered or certified mail the documents required to be served.

(f) Any order for wage withholding under this section shall have priority over any attachment, execution, garnishment, or wage assignment unless otherwise ordered by the court. This order shall not be subject to any specific or general statutory exemption or limitation prohibiting levy, execution, assignment, or attachment process or limiting the amount of executions issued against the income of the obligor except as provided by federal law.

History of Section.
P.L. 1980, ch. 304, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 199, § 2; P.L. 1985, ch. 419, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 478, § 3; P.L. 1997, ch. 170, § 1.