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Federal agency aims to improve child support collection process

New Jersey parents who depend on payroll deductions to collect child support know that job switching can delay the payment process. The federal agency in charge of coordinating between state child support agencies and employers to facilitate deductions is taking steps to improve efficiency and shorten the timeline for initiation of the payroll deduction procedure.

According to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, over $33 billion is paid in child support every year. Over 75 percent of this money is collected through payroll deductions. When an employee is hired, the employer must report the new hire within 20 days. A new guideline related to the linking of employees to specific Employer Identification Numbers should eliminate some confusion and delays caused by employers using different EINs for payroll processing and new hire reporting.

Additionally, employment verification procedures are being streamlined through a clarification that employers are not allowed to outsource the obligation to promptly complete employment verification forms. Historically, many employers have caused delays by forwarding verification forms to third-party administrators who process payroll or human resource forms. While third parties are allowed to process the paperwork, employers must bear the expense and insure timely processing.

Employers with multiple locations across state lines must now clarify locations of particular employees in verification paperwork. This will improve efficiency in accurately assessing deduction percentages since many states have unique assessment standards that cap rates lower than the 50 percent maximum federal rate. Ultimately, the OCSE hopes to improve on its collection rate and reduce the average lag rate between a new hire and the onset of payroll deductions.

Accurate calculation of child support obligations is a critical component of most custody litigation. Any parent with questions regarding payment, collection or modification of child support obligations may consider consulting with a qualified family law attorney.

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