Washington Wage Garnishment: Washington Child Support Garnishment

After custody proceedings have ended, Washington wage garnishment law dictates that the court or a state agency issue the noncustodial parent an order for child support collection. This support order is usually served on the noncustodial parent's employer, and its enforcement is binding on both the parent and the employer to garnish the wages. Child support collection does not terminate for the noncustodial parent when they move out of the state that issued the order. All states follow the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which mandates that support orders be followed regardless of the state that issued them. The following information will help guide your understanding of Washington wage garnishment law.

Washington Child Support Collection

A child support order in Washington means that the noncustodial parent has a "duty of support." A "duty of support" means that the noncustodial parent has the duty to provide the child with necessary support expenses. This includes, but is not limited to, food, shelter, education, clothing, and health care. A support order can also include spousal support or reimbursement expenses paid by another person or agency.

Who Withholds the Money

The noncustodial parent's employer or administrator of other income withholds the money needed to make the support payments. In Washington, an employer is considered any person who remits payment for employment to an employee. This includes federal, state, or local governments. An administrator of income can include administrators of pension funds, third-party sick pay insurance, and workers' compensation insurance. The employer or administrator of income is bound by law to enforce the order until they are released by the child support agency, the order is terminated, or the employee terminates employment.

When is Money Withheld

The employer should begin withholding for the first pay period after they receive an order for support. They must continue to remit payments to the Washington State Support Registry within seven working days of each payday. Washington allows the employer to use several forms of payment methods, including online; by Repetitive Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit; by ACH credit with addenda; by phone; or by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) in either Cash Concentration and Disbursement (CCD+) format or Corporate Trade Exchange (CTX) format. If the employer has more than one employee subject to an order of support, they may combine payments, but should be sure to indicate each employee's payment amount, as well as their names, Social Security numbers, and pay dates.

Out-of-State Orders

Washington follows the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). UIFSA mandates that when an employer receives an out-of-state support order, they must honor it. When determining how to define disposable earnings, the withholding limits on the disposable earnings, when to begin withholding, and when to remit payment, the employer should follow the laws of the employee's work state. However, the employer should follow the laws of the issuing state when determining the amount to withhold, where to send payment, and the duration of the order.