Child Support – Income withholding

Most new or modified child support orders require employers and payor of funds to automatically withhold basic support, medical support, and child care support obligations from a noncustodial parent’s pay or other sources of income. The withheld funds pay the noncustodial parent’s child support obligations.


The child support agency will direct the employer or payor of funds to withhold funds from the noncustodial parent’s income if the court order contains and automatic withholding provision.


  • The child support agency will not use income withholding on a case if any of the following are true:
  • • the court order prohibits income withholding or provides for an alternative payment arrangement
  • • the noncustodial parent filed bankruptcy before October 17, 2005
  • • the custodial parent has claimed or been granted Good Cause.
  • Waiving income withholding

  • If the child support agency is providing services and support has not been assigned to the agency, the court may waive income withholding if:
  • • custodial and noncustodial parents reach an agreement, in writing, providing for alternative payment arrangement that is reviewed, approved, and entered into record by the court
  • • the court makes written findings giving reasons that income withholding would not be in the best interests of the child.
  • In cases involving modifications of support, the court must also make findings that payments have been made timely.

    When income withholding begins

    Once the child support agency indentifies the obligor’s employer or payor of funds, a notice to withhold support will be sent.

    Employers have 14 days to process an order or notice to withhold. Employers must begin withholding no later than the first pay period following this 14-day time period. Employers must continue withholding until the child support agency notifies them in writing of any changes to the order.

    Employers must remit the support they withheld within seven business days of the date the employee was paid the remainder of the income.

    Income withholding for current support and arrearages has priority over any other attachment, execution, garnishment, or wage assignment.

    The Consumer Credit Protection Act

    The amount withheld by the employer or payor of funds for child support must not exceed the limits imposed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

    If the noncustodial parent is subject to multiple withholding orders or notices of income withholding for the support of more than one child, the payor of funds must comply with all of them as long as the total withheld doesn’t exceed these limits.

    The United States Department of Labor’s Employment Law Guide provides more information about wage garnishment.

    If the employer cannot withhold the total support amount due, the noncustodial parent still owes the amount that is not withheld.

    When income withholding ends

    When a case is closed, the child support agency will notify the employer or other payor of funds to stop income withholding for current support.

    If the case is still open and income withholding ends for any reason, the noncustodial parent is responsible to make the payments and send them to the Child Support Payment Center.

    Noncustodial parents may ask the child support agency to automatically withdraw support and maintenance payments from their checking or savings account.

    The employer’s failure to withhold

    The employer or payor of funds can be held in contempt of court for failure to withhold the noncustodial parent’s income for child support.

    Minnesota Child Support Online gives noncustodial parents a record of all child support payments and how the money has been distributed to their cases.

    If a noncustodial parent suspects the employer is not forwarding withheld payments to the Minnesota Child Support Payment Center, the county child support worker should be contacted.


  • Minnesota Statutes can be found on the Minnesota Office of the Revisor Web site.
  • • 45 Code of Federal Regulations, section 303.100
  • • 11 United States Code, section 362(b)
  • • 15 United States Code, section 1673(b)(2)
  • • 42 United States Code, sections 666(a) and (b)
  • • Minnesota Statutes, section 518A.46
  • • Minnesota Statutes, section 518A.53
  • • Minnesota Statutes, section 518A.57
  • • Minnesota Statutes, section 518A.58
  • • Minnesota Statutes, section 518C.501
  • • Minnesota Statutes, section 588

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