Washington Child Support Collections and Fees

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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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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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In order for Washington child support collection to run smoothly, both the noncustodial parent and their employer must abide by the support order. An order for child support garnishment is binding on an employer until the order is terminated. While it does add additional administrative work, failure to enforce Washington wage garnishment can lead to heavy costs for the employer. The Washington office of child support allows the employer to collect a fee for this administrative work, but only when the noncustodial parent has enough wages available for garnishment.

Income Subject to Withholding for Child Support Garnishment

Washington defines income as any compensation paid or payable for personal services. This includes wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, and any insurance and retirement proceeds that are not exempt by law. A noncustodial parent should consider almost any form of income as being subject to child support withholding.

Bonuses and Other Lump Sum Payments

Washington does not require that employers report lump-sum payments to an issuing agency before paying them out to the employee subject to an order.

Termination of Employment

If an employee terminates work for the employer, whether through retirement or otherwise, the employer must immediately notify the issuing agency. The employer should send a copy of the order with the employee’s name and address, the company name, the date of termination, the new employer (if known), and in the case of retirement, the name and address of the pension administrator. If the employer rehires the employee within one year, the employer should immediately resume withholding for the support order.

Administrative Fees

When an employer receives an order of support for one of their employees, they may deduct an initial fee of up to $10 for the costs associated with enforcing it. This fee must be deducted from the employee’s wages and not the support payment. Thereafter, the employer may charge $1 per withholding. However, the total cost of the support payment and the fee may not exceed the state of Washington’s withholding limits, and the employer must prioritize the support payment first.

Penalty for Noncompliance

If an employer who has received an order for support refuses or fails to withhold for the order, they will be held liable for the total amount due on the support order, or the amount they failed to withhold, whichever is less.

Washington State Office of Child Support – Contact Information

Division of Child Support

Community Relations Unit

Washington State Support Registry

P.O. Box 9008

Olympia, WA 98507-9008

Phone: (800) 922-4306

Fax: (360) 664-5209


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