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Payroll deductions key to child support collection

Payroll professionals can be a particularly critical part of the child support enforcement process for companies in Florida and across the country. Nationwide, direct payroll deductions are one of the most common forms by which parents meet their child support obligation. These deductions can include both voluntary withdrawals and also enforcement actions when a parent has failed to meet their child support obligations in the past. Of the $32.4 billion in child support payments tracked by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in 2017, $24.4 billion of those were made through payroll withholdings at the parents' workplaces.

Addressing the American Payroll Association's conference, the federal agency's commissioner urged greater use of electronic portals and systems to manage child support collections. He noted that the agency received over 67 million reports of new hires in 2017 alone. These reports are mandatory and must be filed by an employer whenever they bring someone new on board. When the reports are filed, states can identify people with outstanding child support obligations and transfer the payroll deduction obligation to their new employment. There, payroll professionals can set up the automatic deduction to handle the support payments.

The commissioner noted that the program is highly successful and brings in over $5 for every dollar spent on child support enforcement. He said that three elements were necessary for success: a reliable collection system, a working parent and participating payroll professionals. He noted that the use of electronic systems can increase that efficiency and provide benefits and ease of use to employers, who are able to quickly report wages and changes in an employee's work.

Child support enforcement and collections can be critical when a parent fails to meet their obligations to their children. A family law attorney may help single parents seek enforcement of an existing child support order or obtain a fair order in family court.

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