Child Support – Income Withholding for Employers and Payors of Funds

Most child support orders require employers and payors of funds to automatically withhold basic support, medical support and child care support obligations from an obligor’s pay.

Payors of funds include trustees, self-employed people, financial institutions, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation insurers, unions, individuals or companies paying independent contractors and others who make periodic payments.

Employers and payors of funds may also be required to withhold other financial obligations such as spousal support and child support arrears.

If a parent has been ordered to pay child support and is employed, even in another state, that parent’s employer, when notified, must withhold child support from the parent’s paycheck.

Legal Requirements
Notice to withhold

Requirements to start income withholding

Instructions for sending payments

Multiple withholding orders

Amount to withhold

Consumer Credit Protection Act

Lump sum payments

Notification upon ending employment

Requirements to stop income withholding

Failure to withhold

Authority

Legal requirements

State and federal laws require employers and other payors of funds to comply with court orders to withhold child support and spousal maintenance. Income withholding may be in place even if a parent is current with their child support payments.

Under Minnesota law, all income, including commissions and lump sum payments, is subject to withholding.

To offset the administrative cost of withholding, employers may charge the employee up to $1 for each payment withheld.

Employers may not fire, refuse to hire or discipline employees because they must withhold child support for them.

Notice to withhold

Employers and payors of funds should withhold support from an employee’s income when they receive a copy of an order or a notice to withhold support from:

  • • A Minnesota county child support agency
  • • Another state’s child support office
  • • A private attorney
  • • An employee
  • • An obligee
  • • A Minnesota tribe.

  • Orders and notices will specify the types of support and the amount due.

    When an employer receives an order or notice to withhold support, the employer must comply with the terms of the document and begin income withholding.

    Employers who receive an order or a notice from another state should send the support to the payment center designated in the order or notice.

    Employers who receive documents from an employee or obligee should verify the information in the order with the county child support office.

    Employers who receive a tribal order to withhold should send the support to the entity designated in the order or notice.

    Requirements to start income withholding

    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:

  • • Comply with an order or notice of withholding
  • • Start income withholding even if an employee is willing to make payments directly to the custodial parent or to the child support agency
  • • Withhold the court-ordered amount within the designated time period
  • • Continue to withhold the court-ordered amount until the child support agency notifies them to stop or to withhold a different amount
  • • Verify that adequate income remains after the withholding, as defined by the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA).
  • Instructions for sending payments

    Employers must send child support to the location listed on the notice, or order to withhold, within seven (7) business days of paying an employee.

    Employers who withhold child support should promptly send the money they withhold to the child support agency.

    Employers who withhold child support from more than one employee may combine all support withheld during the same pay period into one payment. Employers should identify the payments and note the amount of to be credited to each employee’s child support obligation.

    Unless directed otherwise, employers should send child support withholding to Minnesota Child Support Payment Center.

    The employer can:

  • • Make payments on Minnesota Child Support Online
  • Electronically transfer the funds to the state over the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network
  • • Mail a check to the state payment center.
  • Multiple withholding orders

    Some employees may have more than one child support order requiring income withholding. Employers must comply with all notices to withhold.

    Minnesota law requires that basic support, spousal maintenance, medical support, child care support, and support arrearages or debts take priority over other attachments, executions, garnishments or wage assignments.

    Amount to withhold

    Employer should:

  • • Withhold the amount of support set in the court order or notice
  • • Decide in which pay period to withhold the funds or split withholding into more than one pay period as long as the court-ordered amount is withheld within the set time period
  • • Send the maximum amount allowed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act if employees do not have sufficient income per paycheck to withhold the entire court-ordered amounts.
  • Consumer Credit Protection Act

    The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) limits the total amount of child support that employers may withhold from the employee’s pay. The act does not apply to independent contractors.

    The act allows an employer to withhold up to:

  • • 50 percent (50%) of the employee’s disposable earnings for child support or spousal support if the employee is supporting another spouse or child
  • • 60 percent (60%) if the employee is not supporting another spouse or child
  • • An additional 5 percent (5%) for support payments more than 12 weeks in arrears.
  • Lump sum payments

    Lump sums include, but are not limited to, accumulated vacation or sick pay, severance pay, bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing.

    Lump sum payments need special attention. If an employer pays a lump sum of $500 or more to an employee when income withholding is in place, the employer must:

  • • Notify the child support agency about the payment
  • • Hold the entire lump sum for 30 days beyond the date they would have paid the lump sum to the employee
  • • Send the lump sum to the Child Support Payment Center or to the employee as directed by the child support agency.

  • Lump sum payments are not held to Consumer Credit Protection Act limits. Employers who receive an order or affidavit from a child support agency regarding a lump sum must follow the requirements of that order or affidavit.

    Employees can report lump sum payments for terminated employees on Minnesota Child Support Online.

    Notification upon ending employment

    If income withholding was in place, the employer must notify the child support agency of an employee ending employment within 10 days of the ending date. The employer must notify the child support agency of the:

  • • Date employment ended
  • • Employee’s last known address
  • • Name and address of the new employer, if known.

  • The employer must withhold support from the last payment made to the employee, including any lump sum payments such as sick pay, vacation pay, tax deferred savings pay or severance pay.

    If an employee returns to work, employers must resume income withholding immediately.

    Employers can report terminations online at Minnesota Child Support Online.

    Requirements to stop income withholding

    Employers must continue to withhold income until they receive a notice to stop from the child support agency or a court order stopping income withholding.

    Failure to withhold

    State and federal laws require employers to comply with court orders from child support income withholding. If employers intentionally fail to comply, a court may:

  • • Hold them in contempt and fine them for failure to comply with withholding provisions
  • • Hold them responsible for the amounts of child support they should have withheld plus interest as it accumulates from the date of the withholding notification
  • • Award the employee twice the wages lost as a result of the employer’s failure to comply.

  • A payor of funds responsibility to withhold does not change by classifying obligors as independent contractors.

    Authority

    Minnesota Statutes can be found on the Minnesota Office of the Revisor website.

  • • 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

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