The Child Support Wage (Income) Withholding Requirement

CSSD is required to issue an Order/Notice to Withhold in every case in which there is a child support order and there is a known employer for the parent who is ordered to pay support. An employer will be notified to withhold a portion of a parent's wages in each of the following situations:

  • Within 2 days of the entry of a new support order or an order modification, if the employer is already known by CSSD
  • When the paying parent changes employment and the new employer’s address becomes known
  • When the paying parent is located and an employer for that parent becomes known (if applicable)

An Order/Notice to Withhold is binding upon any existing and future employer of the parent ordered to pay support. The Order/Notice to Withhold is issued by the DC Superior Court or by CSSD. Note that a withholding order that is issued by CSSD is as binding on an employer as a withholding order issued by the court. 

Role of the Employer

Cooperating with Child Support Enforcement Efforts -- Generally

Employers are required to cooperate with CSSD by providing relevant information, such as:

  • The employee’s full name
  • Last known address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Dates of employment
  • Past and present earnings
  • Availability of health insurance coverage

Employers must inform CSSD on or before the next payment due date when employment is terminated for a parent ordered to pay support. Upon termination, the employer also must provide the employee’s last known residential address and telephone number. Employers submit employee information to CSSD using the Employment Verification Form.  The form is to be signed under penalty of perjury by the employer and may be used as evidence in court. Completion of the form by an employer may avoid a subpoena for the surrender of records. No employer will incur liability for providing information to CSSD.

Withholding Support

Within 10 business days after being served with the Order/Notice to Withhold, an employer must begin withholding support from the employee’s net disposable income (NDI). The actual amount to be withheld cannot exceed 50-65% of the employee's NDI, even if the amount of the child support order is higher.

NDI is calculated as gross earnings minus any amounts required to be withheld by law.  All other deductions are subtracted after the support order deduction.

District of Columbia Withholding Limitations

50% to 55% of NDI—This is the level of withholding if the employee is supporting a spouse or dependent child in the household other than the child(ren) at issue in the support order.

60% to 65% of NDI—This is the level of withholding if the employee is not supporting a spouse or dependent child in that person's household.

See the "Other Information for Employers" section below for examples of calculating the maximum support deduction (MSD).

When to Withhold Support

Employers must send payments to the DC Child Support Clearinghouse within 7 business days of the employee's pay date. The employer is to continue submitting payments until served with an order that modifies or terminates the original Order/Notice to Withhold.

How to Withhold Support

Electronic Income Withholding

An employer may submit withheld support electronically through the CSSD secure website.  Employers may consult the User Guide for Electronic Child Support Payments for information regarding the formats and procedures for sending payments electronically. Additional information about how CSSD administers the electronic income withholding process is available for employers.

Income Withholding through Check or Money Order

Employers also can send child support payments through the mail as follows:

  • Make each money order or check payable to the “District of Columbia (DC) Child Support Clearinghouse.” (If the employer is responding to Notices to Withhold for more than one employee, payments may be combined into a single payment with an itemization.)
  • Type, write clearly, or print all information.
  • Put each employee’s name, case number(s), and Social Security number on each money order or check.
  • Mail each employer-submitted payment to:

DC Child Support Clearinghouse
PO Box 37868
Washington, DC 20013-7868

Priority of Withholding

Withheld income is applied in the following order:

  1. Current child/family support (CC/S)
  2. Health insurance premium
  3. Other current cash support (e.g., medical support, Medicaid reimbursement, spousal support, etc.)
  4. Arrears

Other Information for Employers


All CSSD records are confidential. Employers will only be supplied with information needed to comply with the Order/Notice to Withhold. 

Failure to Withhold

An employer who willfully fails to withhold and/or to forward child support payments pursuant to a valid Order/Notice to Withhold is liable to CSSD and/or to the custodial parent for the amount(s) not properly submitted.

Nondiscrimination for Child Support Withholding

An employer is prohibited from discriminating against or terminating an employee because of an Order/Notice to Withhold.

Calculating the Maximum Support Deduction (MSD)

Sample Formula (Employee with other dependents in the household): Net Disposable Income (NDI) x 50% = Maximum Support Deduction (MSD)

Case 1:  Multiple Orders Totaling Less than MSD

Step 1:  Determine the MSD. (Example assumes an NDI of $662.)
NDI:    $662.00 X 50%
MSD:  $331.00

Step 2:  Add the current child support (CC/S) and arrears.
Order A: (CC/S) $150.00 + (arrears) $37.50 = $187.50
Order B: (CC/S) $100.00 + (arrears) $25.00 = $125.00
                                                                   Total = $312.50


Case 2:  Total Current Child/Family Support (CC/S) Exceeds the MSD

Step 1:  Determine the MSD. (Example assumes an MSD of $331.)

Step 2:  Add the CC/S and arrears.

Order A: (CC/S) $150.00 + (arrears) $37.50 = $187.50
Order B: (CC/S) $100.00 + (arrears) $25.00 = $125.00
Order C: (CC/S) $175.00 + (arrears) $43.75 = $218.75
                              Total = $425.00 + $106.25 = $531.25

Step 3:  Divide the CC/S of each order by the total current child support to obtain percentages.
Order CC/S             ÷ Total    =   Percentage
Order A: $150.00 ÷ $425.00 =   35%
Order B: $100.00 ÷ $425.00 =   24%
Order C: $175.00 ÷ $425.00 =   41%
                       Total: $425.00 = 100%

Step 4:  Multiply the MSD by percentages for the total to allocate to each order.
Order      MSD       x Percentage = Allocation
Order A: $331.00 x 35%              = $115.85
Order B: $331.00 x 24%              = $  79.44
Order C: $331.00 x 41%              = $135.71


Case 3:  Total CC/S with Arrears Exceeds Maximum Support Deductions

Step 1:  Determine the MSD. (Example assumes MSD is $331.)

Step 2:  Add the CC/S and arrears.
Order       CC/S     + Arrears  =   Total
Order A: $100.00 + $25.00   =  $125.00
Order B: $  75.00 + $18.75   =  $  93.75
Order C: $100.00 + $25.00   =  $125.00
     Total: $275.00 + $68.75  =  $343.75
*Note: The MSD satisfies the CC/S for all three orders but not the arrears obligation.

Step 3:  Subtract the total CC/S from the MSD to calculate the total amount to allocate to arrears.
MSD       - CC/S      =   Total Arrears Allocation (all three orders)
$331.00 - $275.00 = $56.00

Step 4:  Divide the arrears allocation amount by the total number of orders (i.e., the example's three orders).
Order      Arrears     Pay to Arrears
Order A: $25.00      $18.67
Order B: $18.75      $18.66
Order C: $25.00      $18.67
Total Arrears Paid: $56.00

Step 5:  Add the CC/S and arrears to arrive at the total to allocate to each order.
Order       CC/S      + Arrears = Allocation
Order A:  $100.00 + $18.67 = $118.67
Order B:  $  75.00 + $18.66 = $  93.66
Order C:  $100.00 + $18.67 = $118.67
Total:      $275.00 + $56.00 = $331.00