Employer Income Withholding Orders


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  • Why do we have to withhold income?

    California Family Code 17420 requires all court orders for child support to include a wage and earnings assignment.

    An income withholding order is not an indication of delinquency. Family Code section 5230 requires that an income withholding order is issued on every child support order.

    Self-employed noncustodial parents are still obligated to deduct the child support amount from their wages as directed by the income withholding order.

    Independent contractors should confirm with their employer that the income withholding has been received, and confirm the date withholding will begin.

  • What do I need to do as an Employer?
    • Employers must report all newly hired employees to the state Directory of New Hires.
    • Once you receive an Income Withholding Order, review page 5 of the income withholding order to determine which employee it is for. Sample
    • Once you identify your employee, Family Code section 5233 requires withholding to begin within 10 days of the receipt of the income withholding order. Sample
    • If the employee is an Independent Contractor (1099), you will still need to withhold from the checks issued to them and remit the payment to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU).
  • How do I process the Income Withholding Order?
    • The income withholding order will provide the sum certain amount that you must remit to SDU. Sample. The amount may include current support as well as past due support.
    • You may not deduct more than 50% of the employee's net earnings.
    • If the employee does not have sufficient earnings to satisfy the the income withholding order, the deductions should be taken in the following sequence:
      • Current monthly child, family and/or spousal support
      • Current monthly health premiums and/or other current medical support
      • Payment of court ordered support arrears
      • Any remaining ordered amounts
    • Once a income withholding order is served, you must continue to withhold until the employee:
      • is no longer employed or
      • until the employer is notified by the Department of Child Support Services to terminate or suspend the withholding.

    **Note: The employee does not have the authority to stop the withholding. If the employee disagrees with or wants to change the withholding amount, advise the employee to contact the Department of Child Support Services.

  • What if the employee has multiple child support orders or cases?

    Employees may have more than one child support order, which results in multiple income withholding orders.

    The orders can be from different counties and/or for different children.

    If the orders are from out of state, you will need to contact that state with any questions.

    The employer will need to put the orders in place based on date received.

  • Can we combine the income withholding payments for multiple employees to send one check to the SDU?

    Yes, employer may combine the withholdings into one consolidated check. However, the employer must include an itemized accounting of the following information:

    • Employee names
    • Employee social security numbers
    • Withholding dates
    • Amount withheld for each child support case number
  • What happens if we are withholding for child support and we receive a Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Levy?

    If the employer is withholding child support based on an income withholding order and receives an order to withhold from the FTB, contact the Department of Child Support Services If appropriate, the department will work with the FTB to withdraw its order.

  • How do I make a payment?

    We provide three easy payment options for employers:



    By Mail:

    State Disbursement Unit
    PO Box 989067
    West Sacramento, CA 95798

    Be sure to include the following:

    • Employee's First and Last name
    • Case Number
    • Social Security number
    • Date of collection
  • Employee Termination

    If the employee terminates, State law requires the employer inform the child support agency immediately of the following information:

    • Child support agency case number
    • Date of separation/termination
    • Last known home address and contact phone number
    • If known, the new employer’s name and address