Minnesota families dependent upon payroll collections of child support will be pleased to know the federal agency in charge of coordinating deductions and payments is improving its platform in hopes of increased efficiency. Over $33 billion in child support payments was collected in 2016, the last annual reporting period, and roughly 75% came through payroll deductions. The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recently announced improvements to their collections process designed to better fulfill its mission of assisting state agencies with enforcing court-ordered payment obligations.

Among the improvements to the process is the elimination of third-party administrators fulfilling certain paperwork obligations, such as new employment verifications. Employers who outsource human resource or payroll processing have tended to also rely on those administrators to process verification requests from agency officials.

New guidelines stress the reporting obligation is the employer’s and passing along the request to third-party administrators is not acceptable. Allowing third-party verification is responsible for increased administrative costs and delays. Another improvement is in the area of new hire reporting, which is required within 20 days of initial employment. In the past, some employees have slipped through the cracks due to inconsistencies in the way employers were allowed to use multiple employer identification numbers for different tasks, and that has been eliminated. The manner in which employers with locations in multiple states report new hire information has also been revised to clarify information regarding employee locations.

Identification of the proper percentage of income withholding for child support orders is also being clarified. Some states have lower limits than federal guidelines, and the reporting format confused many employers. This sometimes led to withholding less than the required amounts for some employees.

Child support obligations are a flashpoint in divorce litigation and collection of required payment is a battle for many single parents. Consulting a family law attorney to clarify obligations and examine options might provide understanding and awareness for anyone with questions.