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Frequently Asked Questions

Employment Status

How do I notify the local child support agency that the non-custodial parent (NCP) is no longer employed or has not worked for us in years/ever?
When an active employee with a wage garnishment is terminated, compile the Notification of Termination of Employment form and return it to the local child support agency. Also complete the Notification of Termination of Employment if you receive an Income Withholding Order and the NCP is no longer or has never been employed. You may contact the local child support agency if you no longer have the Notification of Termination of Employment form on file, and the local child support agency will record the information. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement implemented the electronic exchange of Income Withholding Orders, "e-IWO". With e-IWO states send, and employers receive Income Withholding Orders electronically. In addition, an electronic acknowledgement process enables employers to notify states, tribes or territories about the status of an existing income withholding order. For more information, visit the federal Employer Services website.
If the employee is a temporary worker and only works a couple days on occasion, do I continue to honor the Income Withholding Order on file?
Yes. The Income Withholding Order should remain on file and honored when the employee works.
Non-custodial parent (NCP) is a part-time or temporary employee and is not currently on assignment. Do I remit child support payments when he/she comes back to work, or are you sending a new Income Withholding Order at that time?
The Income Withholding Order should remain on file with the employer and honored each time the NCP returns to work.
Why do I have to withhold child support when the non-custodial parent is a contractor at my company and not an "employee"?
Independent contractor wages are subject to an Order/Notice to withhold income for support. Under the law, the definition of "employer" is anybody or any business obligated to a person (who owes support) for any payments or credits due or becoming due, regardless of source. For more information, review the DCSS Employer Handbook or call 1-866-901-3212.

Withholding Amount

I received an Income Withholding Order and National Medical Support Notice (NMSN). Combined, they exceed 50% of the non-custodial parent's wages. How do I honor these?
Honor the Income Withholding Order and the NMSN up to the 50% of the net disposable income. Prioritize withholding in the following order: First, to current monthly child or family support; Second, to current monthly cash medical support; Third, to payments of current monthly healthcare coverage premiums; Fourth, to current monthly spousal support; Fifth, to payment of ordered child or family support arrears; Sixth, to payment of ordered cash medical support arrears; Seventh, to payment of ordered spousal support arrears; and, Eighth, to any remaining ordered amounts.
The Income Withholding Order and the medical order will cause the withholding amount to be over 50% of net income. Can I enroll children on medical, but not dental and vision insurance?
The employer can add or remove coverages as necessary to comply with the 50% ceiling. Prioritize withholding in the following order: First, to current monthly child or family support; Second, to current monthly cash medical support; Third, to payments of current monthly healthcare coverage premiums; Fourth, to current monthly spousal support; Fifth, to payment of ordered child or family support arrears; Seventh, to payment of ordered spousal support arrears; and, Eighth, to any remaining ordered amounts.
The non-custodial parent (NCP) will be receiving a bonus and I'm not sure if I need to garnish from the bonus. If so, how much should be garnished? Would this be in violation of exceeding 50% of NCP's monthly income? Does this bonus Income Withholding Order remain in place each year?
All earnings, including, but not limited to, bonus, incentive and vacation payments should be regarded as regular income. Semi-annual or annual bonuses are also income; but, require you to take additional action. Pursuant to Family Code Section 17512, the Income Withholding Order demands you notify the local child support agency or the Department of Child Support Services of the impending semi-annual or annual bonus. A one-time order will be issued and must be replaced to garnish future semi-annual or annual bonuses. Of course, no more than 50% of the net disposable bonus payment may be deducted. Report bonus or other lump sum payments prior to payout by contacting the Department of Child Support Services at lumpsumresponseteam@dcss.ca.gov or 916-464-6640. You may also report bonus payments through the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Debt Inquiry Service (DIS) using a web application by uploading a file or entering information online. For more information about this method contact OCSE at employerservices@acf.hhs.gov. In addtion, the Electronic Income Withholding for Support Order (e-IWO) process enables employers to receive IWOs and report upcoming bonus/lump sum payments electronically. Information about e-IWO is available at the federal Employer Services website.
What if the employee doesn't earn enough to meet his/her obligation?
The employer should remit 50% of the net disposable income. This applies to bonuses, as well.
I've received an Income Withholding Order and NMSN, and I am confused about which to withhold from first and how not to exceed the 50% limit. I'm also confused about how to complete the forms and who to send them to
The employer will honor the Income Withholding Order and the NMSN up to 50% of the net disposable income. Prioritize withholding in the following order: First, to current monthly child or family support; Second, to current monthly cash medical support; Third, to payments of current monthly health care coverage premiums; Fourth, to current monthly spousal support; Fifth, to payment of ordered child or family support arrears; Sixth, to payment of ordered cash medical support arrears; Seventh, to payment of ordered spousal support arrears; and Eighth, to any remaining ordered amounts. The employer can add or remove medical coverages to comply with the 50% ceiling. If the total obligation exceeds 50%, send one payment for a total of 50% and list all case numbers on the payment. If the total obligation does not exceed 50%, send the total for all payments with the case numbers listed. Follow the instructions when completing the forms. All forms that are required contain the appropriate mailing address. You may also call 1-866-901-3212 if you have questions.

Multiple Income Withholding Orders

How are multiple Income Withholding Orders handled? How do I garnish? Do I send payment in for each case separately?
An amended Income Withholding Order replaces a previously serviced Income Withholding Order. If the Income Withholding Order is not a duplicate (same case numbers, court docket numbers, children, and amount), the employer will honor all Income Withholding Orders up to 50% of the non-custodial parent's net disposable income. One payment may be sent to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) with all case numbers listed. Child Support will prorate based on the court order for each one.
What should I do when the non-custodial parent (NCP) has more than one order and the Income Withholding Order amount exceeds the NCP's net income?
Honor all wage assignments up to 50% of the NCP's net disposable income. Where there are multiple orders for the same employee, first add up the total current monthly support obligations. If 50% of the employee's net disposable earnings will not pay in full all of the orders for support, send 50% of the net disposable earnings to the State Disbursement Unit; Child Support will prorate and apply the correct amount to each order.
How much do I deduct on multiple cases?
If the total obligation exceeds 50%, send one payment for a total of 50% and list all case numbers on the payment. If the total obligation does not exceed 50%, send the total for all payments with the case numbers listed.
There are multiple Income Withholding Orders from different countries, and the non-custodial parent (NCP) does not make enough for all of them; how do I know what amount to send to each county?
The employer will honor all Income Withholding Orders up to 50% of the NCP's net disposable income. One payment may be sent to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) with all case numbers listed. Child Support will prorate based on court orders and apply the appropriate amount to each case.
I've received more than one Income Withholding Order from the same county. Which one do I honor?
An amended Income Withholding Order replaces the previous one. The employer should check the court order number and verify that the court order is the same as the previous. If it is not amended, the employer will honor all Income Withholding Orders up to 50% of the non-custodial parent's net disposable income.

Health Insurance

How do I determine if medical insurance is too costly?
If the medical premium amount, combined with the support amount, exceeds 50% of the non-custodial parent's net pay, medical is too costly.
How do I determine if medical is available at reasonable cost or is too costly?
Employees must maintain health insurance for the child if available at no or reasonable cost. The cost is reasonable if it is not more than 5% of the employee's gross income. The percentage is calculated using the cost of the employee only plan or the cost of their current plan (if they have one) versus the cost of adding the new child. Whether or not the employee has opted for health insurance is not relevant.
Health insurance is too costly. Do I deduct child support or medical insurance?
The first priority is child support.
What if I receive an order for medical insurance before or after the employee medical open enrollment period?
State statute requires that insurance, if deemed available at a reasonable cost, must be provided per the court order, regardless of any open enrollment date. Employees must therefore be enrolled even if the open enrollment date has passed.
I recently received a medical order for an employee who is still on probation and is not, therefore, eligible yet for health insurance. What should I do?
If the employee is not yet eligible for health coverage because he/she is on probation, the employer does not need to make health insurance available until the employee completes the probationary period.
What information do you need for the health insurance?
Detailed instructions are provided with the Notice to Withhold for Healthcare Coverage; Employer's Response and Medical Support Notice to Plan Administrator.
How do I fill out the NMSN forms when an employee does not qualify for benefits?
If health insurance is not available to the employee, complete and sign the NMSN Employer Response on the reverse of the form and mail the form to the issuing local child support agency within 20 days.

General Questions

I received a huge packet, and I don't know what to do or where to start.
1) Within 10 days of receipt, confirm that the obligor named in the order/Notice is the employee and provide him/her with a copy of the Order/Notice, a blank Request for Hearing Regarding Earnings Assignment, and Information Sheet and Instructions. 2) Begin withholding the amount specified in the order no later than the first pay period occuring 10 days after receipt of the Income Withholding Order.
3) Withhold the appropriate amount, not exceeding 50%, unless a higher percentage is expressly ordered by the court. 4) Send the amount withheld, together with identifying information, within 7 working days of the pay date/date of withholding to: State Disbursement Unit, P.O. Box 989067, West Sacramento, CA 95798. For more information, refer to the CSDA Employer Handbook.
What documents do I give to the employee?
Documents given to the employee are: Order/Notice, a blank Request for Hearing Regarding Earnings Assignment and accompanying Information Sheet and Instructions.
What is the timeframe to send in a payment?
The employer must begin withholding no later than the first pay period occuring 10 days after receipt of the Income Withholding Order. Payment must be remitted to the SDU within 7 working days of the pay date/date of withholding.
Please clarify how to calculate deductions.
Use the Order Information section of the Income Withholding Order, the left column displays the total monthly amount to be deducted for the particular support obligation owed. At the bottom of that column is the combined total, which represents the total amount to be deducted monthly. Below that is the Amounts to Withhold section. Depending upon the payroll cycle, these are the amounts that should be deducted from the employee's pay to meet the total monthly obligation.
What page do I look at for withholdings on the Income Withholding Order?
Under the Order Information section, the left column is the total monthly amount to be deducted for the particular support obligation owed. At the bottom of that column is the combined total, which represents the total amount to be deducted monthly. Below that is the Amounts to Withhold section. Depending upon the payroll cycle, these are the amounts that should be deducted from the employee's pay to meet the total monthly obligation.
The Summarized Income Withholding Order is confusing, especially when the order is registered.
The Summarized Income Withholding Order page contains all the necessary payment information at the bottom of the page under Total Monthly Deduction. If there is a total due for each case, list each case number from the DCSS Case Information column. You may also call 1-866-901-3212 for further assistance.
What do I put on the Income Withholding Order summary page?
The Summarized Income Withholding Order page contains all the necessary payment information at the bottom of the page under Total Monthly Deduction. If there is a total due for each case, list each case number from the DCSS Case Information column.
Do I put the employee's social security number or Participant ID number on the check?
Use the Employer Payment Coupon for Wage Withholding included in the Income Withholding Order packet. This coupon contains a space for both the social security number and the Participant ID number. For convenience, this information is already entered.
What is an amended Income Withholding Order?
An amended Income Withholding Order replaces the original Income Withholding Order and employer will modify deductions accordingly. The original Income Withholding Order is no longer valid and may be discarded.
How do I update my address, phone number, and/or company name?
Visit the DCSS Employer Resource Center and complete the Employer Information Request (EIR) form to update address and other contact information electronically. Or, you may contact the local child support agency by telephone.
Why do I receive so many documents and inquiries, and sometimes multiple inquiries about the same thing?
California's automated child support system receives data from many sources. Occasionally, this data may override current data in the system, causing new documents to be sent out to the same employer. The employer should follow instructions for each document. If the documents are duplicates, the employer may contact the local child support agency to advise of the issue. A caseworker will make any updates needed. The state DCSS is implementing a new Employer Data Maintenance and Verification (EDMV) process for child support caseworkers. The new process will accelerate the process for adding or updating employer information and may reduce duplication.
Can my employee just pay directly to your office or the other parent instead of me taking payments out of his check?
It is the employer's legal obligation to comply with the Order/Notice. Withholding continues unless the court has stayed (ordered to stop) it, in which case you will be notified by the local child support agency. You must continue to comply until otherwise notified by the local child support agency.

End of Withholding

When does withholding stop?
Withholding stops when the employer is noticed by the local child support agency. Current support typically stops when the child is 19 or is 18 and has graduated from high school, whichever occurs first. There may be more than one child and there is often an arrearage owed, as well.
Once the child turns 18, can I stop child support and medicla or do I need something from you?
Employer should continue to honor the Income Withholding Order and NMSN until it receives notice from the local child support agency. Child support is payable until the child reaches 19 or is 18 and graduates from high school, whichever occurs first.
 

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Child Support Directors Association of California | 2150 River Plaza Drive, Ste 420, Sacramento, CA 95833 | 916 446 6700 telephone | 916 446 1199 fax
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