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Income Withholding for Child Support

Federal law requires state child support enforcement agencies to initiate income withholding, in order to ensure that parents obligated to pay support meet this obligation. Previous legislation allowed income withholding only at the time payments became delinquent in an amount equal to one month's support or at the request of the obligated parent. In 1989 the North Carolina Legislature revised the income withholding law to allow for immediate income withholding in orders for child support entered or modified on or beginning October 1, 1989. In the event income withholding cannot be established immediately, the obligated parent would be subject to income withholding under any of the following circumstances:

  • Being delinquent by as much as one month's support
  • Upon request of the obligated parent
  • Upon request of the custodial parent or guardian of the child


WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT THAT CAN BE WITHHELD EACH PAY PERIOD FROM THE OBLIGATED PARENT'S WAGES
Under no circumstances can the percentage of disposable income withheld for child support exceed the following:
  • 40 percent of disposable income when only one support order exists.
  • 45 percent of disposable income when multiple support orders exist and the obligated parent is supporting a spouse or other children.
  • 50 percent of disposable income when multiple support orders exist and the obligated parent is not supporting a spouse or other children.

WHAT IS MEANT BY DISPOSABLE INCOME?

Disposable income is that amount which remains after deductions for federal, state and local taxes, Social Security and involuntary retirement contributions.

WHAT IF THE OBLIGATED PARENT ASKS THE EMPLOYER TO CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF WITHHOLDING?

Often support obligations are modified by the courts, arrearage amounts are reduced or other circumstances in a particular case may change so that revisions in the amount of withholding could occur. However, the obligated parent nor employer may make changes in the withholding amount. If changes become necessary, you will be notified by the agency that sent the notice to the employer. If an obligated parent has questions, they should contact their child support enforcement agency.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OBLIGATED PARENT TERMINATES EMPLOYMENT?

The employer must notify in writing the child support agency that sent the income withholding notice, the date of termination, last known address of the obligated parent, and the name of his new employer, if known.


WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CHILD SUPPORT INCOME WITHHOLDING LAW IN NORTH CAROLINA?

You should contact the closest child support enforcement agency or call the State of North Carolina Child Support Enforcement Office at 1-800-992-9457.