The Family Support Act of 1988 requires that all court orders for child support include a wage and earnings assignment. The wage assignment is mandatory. All noncustodial parents must pay by wage assignment.
The noncustodial parent’s employer is served with an order to withhold a specified amount of current support (and sometimes a payment for past due child support) with instructions to send the withheld wages to the Department of Child Support Services via the State Disbursement Unit. The employer must deduct child support payments directly from the noncustodial parent’s salary or wages.
Once a wage assignment is served, the employer must honor it as long as the noncustodial parent remains employed. An employer may not take more than 50 percent of the noncustodial parent’s net earnings after taxes.
Self-employed noncustodial parents are still obligated to deduct the child support amount from their wages as directed in the wage assignment. Independent contractors should confirm their wage assignment with their employers.
Unemployed noncustodial parents are still required to pay child support. The department has several ways to encourage parents to pay child support including license suspension and the use of other collection tools.
The National Medical Support Notice is an order that requires the noncustodial parent’s employer (or other person providing health insurance) to enroll the child in the parent’s health insurance plan. The order also authorizes the employer to deduct the cost of the health care premiums from the noncustodial parent’s earnings. The employer is instructed to notify the Department of Child Support Services of any lapse or change in the health insurance coverage.
The wage assignment may take some time to be processed before being sent to the noncustodial parent’s employer. During this time, the noncustodial parent is still obligated to pay child support. To avoid missed payments, noncustodial parents may send the child support obligation to the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) via the State Disbursement Unit using additional payment options. The State Disbursement Unit must receive your payment before the end of the month to avoid interest charges on your account.
Make a payment online using Visa or MasterCard by clicking on the "Make a Payment" button here.
In the Office
Pay in person at 220 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 at the 6th floor cashier’s window. Hours are Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Payments can be made using cash, check, or money order. You will not receive credit for the payment until it is processed by the State Disbursement Unit.
Mail payments to:State Disbursement Unit PO Box 989067 West Sacramento, CA 95798
Be sure to include the following:
- Case number
- Social Security number