Income Withholding Orders

The law requires that all court orders for child support include an earnings assignment order. Local child support agencies (LCSAs) send the employer a standardized federal form called an Income Withholding Order/Notice for Support (IWO), which has the same force and effect as an earnings assignment order signed by a judicial officer. The IWO is mandatory and all employees must pay child support through an IWO, unless the judicial officer makes an exception and orders something different.

When the Child Support Services Department (CSSD) serves the employer with an IWO, the employer must withhold the amount stated in the IWO from the employee’s paycheck. However, if the amount is more than 50% of the employee’s net disposable earnings, the employer should only withhold 50% of the employee’s earnings.

The employer must send the money directly to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) at:

California State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 989067
West Sacramento, CA 95798

The SDU will send the money to either a state agency or the custodial party.

The employer must honor the IWO as long as the employee remains employed. Self-employed Persons Paying Support are still required to deduct the child support amount from their wages as indicated in the IWO.

Changes to the Income Withholding Order (IWO) and National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) Form Set

Beginning on October 26, 2015, the IWO and NMSN packets will change to reduce the volume of paperwork sent to employers.

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