Wage Garnishment California: California Child Support Garnishment

After custody has been determined for the children of parents who have parted ways, wage garnishment in California will begin for the noncustodial parent if they have been ordered to pay child support. In California, this child support collection is handled by either the California Franchise Tax Board or local county child support offices, and payment can be made through the California State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The noncustodial parent's employer will be served with the support order, and is held responsible for timely wage garnishment. This article provides a brief overview of California child support garnishment.

California Child Support Collection

Child support collection in California begins when the noncustodial parent's employer is served with an "earnings assignment order for support" by either the local county's child support office or the State of California Franchise Tax Board. This support order acts as a continuous garnishment on the noncustodial parent's wages until the issuing agency notifies the employer to stop.

Who Withholds the Money

Under California wage garnishment law, the employer that is served with the support order is responsible for deducting the support payments from the employee's paycheck. An "employer" is defined as a person or entity that pays earnings to an employee in exchange for services, and may include the U.S. government or any public entity. An "employee" is an individual who performs services for an employer and who is subject to the employer's control. Within ten days of receiving the support order, the employer must furnish its employee with a copy of the order, as well as give them a written statement of the employee's rights under California law to seek to quash, modify, or stay the order, with the appropriate form to file with the court.

When is Money Withheld

After an employer is served with an order issued by a county child support office, they should begin deducting support payments from the employee's paycheck no later than the first pay period within ten days of the issuance date. Thereafter, the employer must remit the deducted payment to the centralized California State Disbursement Unit (SDU) within seven business days from the date of the employee's paycheck. The employer cannot accumulate the deductions. If the order directs the employer to send the payment to any other party, the employer must send a copy of the order to the SDU. The SDU will then provide the employer with a case number to use when making payments to the SDU.

When an employer is served with an order issued by the California Franchise Tax Board, payments can be made directly to the Tax Board, and must be sent within ten days after the end of each pay period.

Out-of-State Orders

California has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The UIFSA requires that a California employer honor all support orders received from another state.