Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Apr 10, 2011

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After a court or agency issues an order for Tennessee wage garnishment, the order is served on the noncustodial parent’s employer. When an employer is served with an order for Tennessee child support garnishment, they must honor the order until the date of termination, or until the court or issuing agency notifies them. It is important that the employer always remit payment for child support collection to the Tennessee Child Support Payment System. This means that the noncustodial parent may not enter into agreement to have payment sent elsewhere.

Tennessee Child Support Collection

In Tennessee, an order for support can include payment for the support of a child, as well as a spouse or ex-spouse. An order of support is binding on an employer fourteen days after the court or issuing agency mails it to or serves it on the employer.

Who Withholds the Money

After being served with a support order in Tennessee, the employer is bound by law to garnish the noncustodial parent’s wages until the order expires. An employer can include a governmental entity or any other business entity. An administrator of other sources of funds also must enforce an order of support if they are served with one. Such an entity might include administrators of pension funds, third-party sick pay insurance, or workers’ compensation insurance.

When is Money Withheld 

When an employer receives an order for support, they should begin withholding in the first pay period within fourteen days after the date of the order. The employer should continue withholding from the employee’s wages, and remitting payment within seven days of each payday thereafter. The employer may not accumulate deductions to make one monthly payment. Tennessee accepts payment by either check or Electronic Funds Transfer in both the Cash Concentration and Disbursement (CCD+) format and the Corporate Trade Exchange (CTX) format. If paying by check, the employer should make the check payable to Tennessee Child Support, and send it to the Receipting Unit at:

Tennessee Child Support

Centralized Collections

P.O. Box 305200

Nashville, TN 37229

With the payment, the employer should include a copy of the “Employer Obligation Letter,” found with the order. The Employer Obligation Letter includes both the docket number, and the TCSES (child support case number). If the employer does not have the Employer Obligation Letter, then they should include with payment the following information: the date payment was withheld, docket number, employee name, address, Social Security number, TCSES, and amount of payment. It is important to know that all child support collections must go through the State Disbursement Unit. This means that any money not paid to the State Disbursement Unit will be treated as unpaid.

Out-of-State Orders 

Tennessee abides by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This means that when an employer receives an order from out-of-state, they must enforce it. When determining the duration of the order, the amount to withhold, and where to send payment, the employer should follow the issuing state’s laws. Conversely, when determining the withholding limits, how to define disposable earnings, when to begin and remit withholding, how to allocate orders, administrative fees the employer may withhold, and what must be reported upon termination of the employee, the employer should follow the employee’s work state laws.