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How can I collect the child support/alimony, which my ex-spouse was ordered to provide in our divorce decree or separation agreement?


For child support, you might want to contact either an attorney, or your local child support enforcement agency in order to obtain an Income Deduction Order or Income Withholding Order. For alimony, you might want to contact an attorney to obtain a garnishment. In order to collect the support/alimony you were ordered to receive, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Cleveland Center, Garnishment Operations Directorate needs an order from a court or child support agency that directs the government to pay monies for support or alimony. You do not need to send the underlying order, (e.g., a divorce/separation decree).

As a child support enforcement worker, how can I collect the fees to which my agency is entitled for processing child support income withholding orders?


Federal law recently amended the definition of "child support" to include such items as court costs, administrative fees, and attorneys fees so those items can now be collected if the withholding order directs as such.


Can I collect a child support/alimony arrearage?


Yes, if the withholding order directs the collection of an arrearage. The arrearage will be paid within the limits the law allows, as discussed below.

The non-custodial parent has been ordered to provide health insurance coverage for our child. How can I enforce that order?


You should send a copy of the order directing the provision of coverage to the non-custodial parent's personnel office. Do not send these orders to the Garnishment Directorate at the Cleveland Center as we cannot process them.

Must I serve the child support income withholding order or alimony garnishment order on your office by certified mail, return receipt requested?


No, you may serve child support income withholding orders or alimony garnishments on this Center by regular United States mail, or fax. There is no longer a requirement that child support orders be served upon us by certified mail.

Why am I not receiving the full amount of the ordered child support/alimony?


Although there are many reasons that you might not be receiving the full ordered amount of child support/alimony from the income withholding, the most common reason is that the payor does not have sufficient disposable earnings to allow the deduction of the full amount. The Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1673) limits the amount that can be deducted as child support/alimony from earnings. The limit ranges from 50 percent (50%) of disposable earnings to sixty-five percent (65%). The full ordered amount of child support/alimony will be deducted as long as that amount does not exceed the maximum percentage allowable. The following is an explanation of when the different maximum percentages apply:

50% of disposable earnings is the maximum percentage allowable if the payor provides proof that he/she is providing more than half the support of dependents other than those for whom the support is to be deducted, and if the payor has not accrued an arrearage.

55% of disposable earnings is the maximum percentage allowable if the payor provides proof that he/she is providing more than half the support of dependents other than for those whom the support is to be deducted, and if the payor has accrued an arrearage.

60% of disposable earnings is the maximum percentage allowable if the payor has not provided proof that he/she is providing more than half the support of dependents other than those for whom the support is to be deducted, and if the payor has not accrued an arrearage.

65% of disposable earnings is the maximum percentage allowable if the payor has not provided proof that he/she is providing more than half the support of dependents other than those for whom the support is to be deducted, and if the payor has accrued an arrearage.

15 U.S.C. § 1673(b)(2)(A) and (B)

REMEMBER: THE PERCENTAGE AMOUNTS WILL ONLY BE DEDUCTED IF THE PAYOR DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT DISPOSABLE EARNINGS TO ALLOW FOR THE FULL ORDERED AMOUNT TO BE DEDUCTED.

Must I include the payor's social security number when I serve a child support income withholding order or alimony garnishment?


Without the social security number of the payor, Garnishment Operations will not be able to process the child support income withholding order or alimony garnishment.

What happens if there are multiple child support income withholding orders in effect against the pay of the same payor?


If the payor has sufficient available disposable earnings, we will authorize the payment for the full amounts of both/all orders. If there is insufficient available disposable earnings, and the Consumer Credit Protection Act limitations become applicable, federal law mandates that we allocate the available disposable earnings so that a pro rata share of the available earnings is paid toward each obligation. The pro rata shares are calculated by dividing the amounts of each order by the total amount of disposable earnings available to determine what percentage of the available disposable earnings will be paid toward each obligation. Although the method by which we allocate is internal to our operation, the pro rata calculation process is very similar to the allocation procedures followed by most states and U.S. Territories. Allocating ensures that all children are at least partially provided for by the payor.

What happens when there are multiple child support orders for the same obligation?


In cases where we can determine from the information provided in both orders, that both are ordering payment for the same child(ren) and payable to the same payee, we will honor the most recently served order.

Does your office charge a fee for withholding for child support/alimony obligations?


No. There is no fee charged by this office for honoring income withholding orders for child support/alimony or child support/alimony arrearages.

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