Maintenance Enforcement (back)
Games Enforcers Play: The Guessing Game
One of the games enforcers play is something I will call “The Guessing Game”. It is a game designed to increase the amount extracted from the debtor. If for some reason the debtor has fallen behind in payments or if there is some uncertainty about how much should be paid, the enforcer will not suggest an amount, or will suggest an amount that is clearly unpayable, given the circumstances of the debtor. He or she will then insist that the debtor name an amount.
The enforcer has an acceptable amount in mind, but will not reveal it.
The psychology of this game is clear: to put the debtor in a position of having to make repeated requests and the enforcer repeatedly refusing proposed amounts.
If the debtor does not name an amount above what the enforcer has in mind, the debtor will be garnisheed (which may collect less funds than demanded by the enforcer - enforcers routinely ask for more than they are legally allowed to collect).
The disadvantage of being garnisheed (even if the amount is less) is that many employers disapprove of an employee whose wages are garnisheed and will punish them in many ways, including dismissal. Although it is illegal to dismiss an employee for being garnisheed, it is also fairly easy to dismiss an employee (especially a non-union employee) by citing other reasons ostensibly related to job performance. Even if an employee treated in this way manages the highly improbable task of forcing an employer to re-hire (almost impossible for someone without a job and under pressure from maintenance enforcement) imagine working for someone who does not want you there.