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Income Withholding Instructions

Note: This is a brief explanation of the employer's responsibility for income withholding. For a complete explanation, read the booklet entitled Employer's Guide to Income Withholding


When to Begin Withholding
Federal and state regulations require that when an Order/Notice to Withhold Income For Child Support is received an employer must:


  • Start withholding child support no later than the first pay period that occurs fourteen (14) working days after the date on the Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support
  • Send the withheld child support to the address on the order/notice within seven (7) business days of the date that the employee is paid

What You Need to Know About Withholding


  • Priority - Child support withholdings take priority over any other legal process carried out under state law against the same income, even if the other withholding orders were served first. Child support must be withheld from disposable income before deductions for other withholding orders are taken, up to 50-65% of the employee's disposable earnings.
    • The only exception is if a federal tax levy is received BEFORE the Order/Notice To Withhold Income For Child Support.
  • Pay Period Frequency - State law requires that you divide the withholding among the pay periods for the month, but the total amount withheld in a month must equal the monthly amount due as specified on the income withholding order.
    • Do NOT hold payments until the monthly amount is reached
  • Duration - You may NOT stop the withholding because the employee has asked you to do so, or because the arrears appear to be paid.
    • The withholding stays in effect until the person or representative who sent the Order officially notifies you in writing. Failure to withhold may result in an employer’s liability for payments not withheld.
  • Fees for Withholding - Colorado law allows employers to charge a processing fee of up to $5.00 per month from the remainder of the employee’s earnings, after the child support has been withheld.
    • Do NOT deduct the fee from the child support payment.
  • Bankruptcy - If the employee tells you they have filed for bankruptcy, continue deducting child support until the county Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Unit that initiated the income withholding contacts you.
    • Tell the employee to contact the CSE Unit that initiated the income withholding.
  • Employee Termination - When an employee ends his/her employment, and you are sending payments to the Family Support Registry (FSR), you must notify the FSR in writing and provide them with:
    • Employee's name
    • Date of separation
    • Case identifier - typically the FSR account number
    • Last known home address
    • Name and address of this person's new employer, if known
  • Rehired employee – If a terminated employee is later rehired, do NOT wait to receive a new Order/Notice to Withhold for Child Support. You should honor the existing notice, since withholdings are continuous. To restart coupons, contact the FSR Employer Outreach Department.
  • Income Withholding from Another State – If you receive a income withholding from another state that appears valid on its face, you are required to honor it just as if it was received from Colorado.

Other Amount
Enhancement to income withholding orders issued by the Colorado Division of Division of Child Support Services. To understand the enhanced changes and how they will affect you, please review this visual presentation. Changes to the Colorado Income Withholding Order.

In mid or late August, 2013, the Colorado Division of Child Support Services will begin issuing income withholding orders that will display an additional amount in the "other" field. This amount will be included in the "Weekly" and "Biweekly" fields on the income withholding order. The "Monthly" and "Semimonthly" fields will not be affected.

The additional "other" amount is calculated based on a mathematical formula and will ensure that the full monthly support amount is withheld during the month in which it is due.

This enhancement is necessary to ensure compliance with Federal (42 USC 666, 45 CFR 303.100) and State (14-14-111.5, C.R.S.) laws, which require that the full support amount be withheld during the month in which it is due.

The enhancement only has relevance for employers who use a weekly and/or biweekly payroll cycle and no additional actions on the part of employers are required. Employers will continue to note either the weekly or biweekly amount indicated on the income withholding order and use that amount when entering the income withholding order into their payroll system.

Just as occurs currently, the additional payment(s) received in the months where there is an extra pay period will be promptly refunded to the employee, unless there is an arrears balance. If there is an arrears balance, the additional payment(s) will be applied to that balance.

This does not apply to income withholding orders issued by entities other than the Colorado Division of Child Support Services.

For help with any questions associated with this issue, please contact the Colorado Family Support Registry at 303-297-2849 or cdhs_fsremployerservices@state.co.us.


Who to Contact
For questions related to the Income Withholding itself, contact the individual or agency noted in one of the last paragraphs of the Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support that was sent to you.


For issues related to payment processing, contact the FSR Employer Outreach Department.


Employer Outreach Online Reference
If you would like more online information about Employer Outreach, please consult the FSR Employer Outreach Guide.


OCSE Income Withholding Resources
The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) also offers resources and assistance concerning income withholding to employers. If you have further questions or need more information, please visit OCSE Income Withholding Process for Private Sector Employers if you are a private sector employer, or OCSE Income Withholding Process for Federal Agency Employers if you are a federal agency employer.


Legal Authority
14-14-111.5 CRS
14-5-501 CRS
14-5-502 CRS
14-5-503 CRS

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