Employer Frequently Asked Questions
Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support
1. How does Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) let me know that I must withhold child support from an employee’s income?
Employers will receive an Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support for an employee. The notice tells you how much to withhold from your employee’s earnings for current support, arrears or both. It tells you where and how to send in payments and explains your rights and responsibilities under California law.
2. After I receive the notice, how soon must I begin to withhold?
Withhold money from the employee’s net disposable earnings as soon as possible, but no later that 10 days after you have received the notice.
3. What types of income are considered earnings?
Wages, salaries, bonuses, vacation pay, retirement pay, commission, payments for services of an independent contractor, dividends, rent, royalties, residuals, patent rights, mineral and other natural resource rights, payments due as a result of a written or oral contract for services or sales and any other payment or credit.
4. When do I send in the payment?
Money withheld from your employee is to be sent to DCSS within 10 days of the pay date. You may deduct $1 from the employee’s earnings for each payment to defray your expenses.
5. Where do I send support payments?
6. What information do I send with the payment?
Please provide the employee’s name and Social Security Number, the child support case number and the date the payment was withheld from the employee’s pay
7. I received a wage assignment from another state. Where do I send the support?
Send the payment to the agency/address listed on the withholding order. Effective January 1, 1998, all states are required to honor income withholding orders from other states.
8. What do I do if the employee does not have sufficient earnings to satisfy the withholding order?
Do not withhold more than 50% of the disposable earnings, unless the court order specifies a higher percentage. See the multiple order examples included in the DCSS presentation.
9. What if the employee already has income attachments?
Support withholdings take priority over other income attachments.
10. Do I need to advise the employee that I received the Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support?
Yes. It is your responsibility to provide the employee with a copy of the order and the blank Request for Hearing within 10 days of receipt.
11. What should I do if the employee tells me the Order/Notice is incorrect?
Payments must continue until further order of the court or notification from DCSS. If you fail to withhold pursuant to the order/notice, you may be held liable for any amount you fail to withhold and can be cited for contempt of court. You should refer the employee to DCSS for assistance.
12. What if the employee quits after I begin withholding?
If the employee quits, notify DCSS no later than the date of the next pay-date. Also, provide the employee’s last known address and the name and address of their new employer, if known.
13. What if the employee is terminated?
You have the same reporting responsibility as if the employee quits. Remember, employers who terminate, discipline or refuse to hire any employee based on income withholding are subject to legal penalties.
14. I have several employees with Orders/Notices to Withhold, may I combine their child support in one check?
Yes. If you choose to combine the support payments of several employees, you must identify each payment by the name of the employee, DCSS case number, amount, and date of the withholding.
15. What is the difference between an Order/Notice to Withhold and a Wage Assignment Order?
One is an administrative order (the Order/Notice to Withhold) and the other is a court order. They are treated the same, hold the same weight, and require the same processing by the employer.
17. Why does DCSS continue to send letters when I have already replied indicating that the person no longer works here
Our system automatically refers cases to various state and federal agencies in attempts to locate a noncustodial parent. This means that it will research for earnings, addresses, and assets that may result in multiple contacts to prior employers.
18. Why won’t you speak to an employer when the employer is acting on behalf of his/her employee?
DCSS is bound by strict confidentiality guidelines. We can only discuss certain issues with an employer. If your employee has concerns, please have them contact our office either by phone, mail or coming into our office.
19. How does the employer report commissions that are paid quarterly, based on sales?
If completing the employment/earnings verification form, report the commissions in the month paid. Otherwise, contact our office prior to the distribution of the commission so that we can then review the case and make a determination based on the case circumstances whether or not to attach this income.
20. An employee tells the employer that his withholding was modified. What should the employer do?
Do not change the withholding amount until you receive the modified Order/Notice to Withhold from DCSS. Refer the employee to DCSS to resolve this issue.