How do I manage Child Support Payments in Gusto?

Child support is one of the many wage garnishments/deductions that can be managed via Gusto. This article will show you how to manage this process.

Follow the steps below to set up post-tax deductions for an employee's child support wage garnishment. 

When to remit payments to state agencies yourself

  • If the garnishment came from the state of South Carolina, a tribal support agency, or a US territory, you must remit all employee deductions to the agency directly
  • If the garnishment was collected on an off-cycle payroll

To remit a payment yourself, follow the instructions on the garnishment order or contact the agency directly for assistance. 

When Gusto remits payments to state agencies for you 

As long as the garnishment did not come from South Carolina, a tribal support agency, or a US territory, here's when Gusto will remit payments to the applicable state agency for you:

Add a deduction for a garnishment 

  1. Click the People section and select Team members.
  2. Click your employee's name.
  3. Click Add Garnishment or Custom Deduction
  4. Select Garnishment as the Deduction Type.
  5. Select Child Support as the Garnishment Type.
  6. Select the state agency listed on the order received in the Agency field.
  7. Select the county listed on the order received in the County field (if applicable).
    • Florida, New York and Illinois are the only states that require this.
  8. Enter the CSE Case Number found on the order received. 
    • Contact the agency directly if the case number is not easy to locate.
    • Note: Florida garnishments require the Remittance ID/depository number. Do not enter the 'CSP' number.
  9. Enter the Total Amount to Withhold found on the order. 
    • Ensure the amount entered corresponds with the pay period selected in step 10.
  10. Select the 'Per' pay period that corresponds to the amount entered as the Total Amount to Withhold. 
    • If the pay period differs from the company's normal pay schedule, we'll use the information you entered from the withholding order and your employee's normal pay schedule to determine the per paycheck amount to be withheld.
  11. Click Save & Continue
  12. The next time you run payroll this amount will be deducted from your employee's wages post-tax.
    • The deduction will recur on all payrolls run thereafter until the garnishment has been removed from the employee's profile.
    • The deduction will be seen as a separate line item on the employee's paystub.

Legal requirement: Federal rules indicate you may not withhold more than 50% of the disposable income if your employee is supporting another family, or 60% of the disposable income if your employee is not supporting another family. If your employee is behind in their child support payments (in "arrears") greater than 12 weeks, those limits can increase to 55% and 65%. Check the income withholding order to see if it indicates that your employee is in arrears for greater than 12 weeks. State maximum withholding requirements can vary from federal guidelines so contact the state directly for more information.

Duplicate or multiple orders

If you receive duplicate orders for an employee there may be additional steps required before taking any action in your Gusto account. In general, employers that receive a duplicate withholding order must continue to honor the first order received in addition to notifying the proper agencies and individuals. Scroll to "Duplicate or multiple child support orders" for more info.

Past-due payments (payments in arrears)

If a garnishment order states there is a 'payment in arrears' owed due to missed payments in the past, the agency will generally have already incorporated the past-due amount owed in their calculations of the 'Total Amount to Withhold' along with the employee's current child support liability.

If there are past due amounts owed outside of what is included in the "Total Amount to Withhold," reach out directly to the agency to determine the best method for making the past due payment on behalf of the employee.

Lump-sum payments

A lump-sum payment is a one-time payment to an employee. Examples include bonuses, commissions, severance, and vacation payouts. For employees with active child support orders, some lump-sum payments may be subject to garnishment. Requirements vary by state and payment type, and Gusto does not automatically calculate these garnishments on bonuses and other lump-sum payments. Employers should confirm the garnishment amounts and verify with the child support agency. Learn more about lump-sum payments and state requirements here.

Dismissing or terminating an employee with a garnishment

Legal Requirement: If you dismiss an employee with a garnishment order for any reason, you are required by law to notify the agency of the dismissal immediately. State guidelines vary but it is recommended you contact the agency 5 days after you learn that an employee will terminate employment or within 5 days after termination, whichever occurs earlier.

This form from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is accepted as fulfillment of the termination requirements for some states but not all. States may require additional information or specific employer action. Check out our article on dismissing or terminating an employee with a garnishment for more info.

Reporting and viewing deductions 

As an administrator you can view deductions in several ways:

  • When running payroll
  • In payroll reports
  • In an employee's profile
  • On an employee's paystubs
  • In the 'agency payments' report 

Employees can view their deductions:

  • On their paystubs
  • In the Job & Pay tab of their employee profile under the Deductions headline

Gusto's deduction calculation

We'll use the information you entered from the withholding order and your employee's normal pay schedule to determine the per paycheck amount to be withheld. Learn more about Gusto's deduction calculation here.

Agency payment timeline

Garnishment payments are sent to most state agencies 2 business days after the check date of the applicable payroll. Alabama child support agency payments are made 5 business days after the check date.

Reversing a payroll with a child support garnishment

Garnishment payments are sent to agencies 2 business days after the check date of the applicable payroll. Once payment has been remitted, we cannot recoup the funds on your behalf. Please directly contact the agency for questions about how to do so and next steps.

If an additional payroll is run to correct for the reversed one, garnishment deductions will occur again if deductions are enabled within the payroll.

Bank transactions

In addition to the usual payroll debits (net pay, taxes, reimbursements), all child support garnishments will be summed together and will appear as a separate debit and bank transaction line item in the company's bank account.

Employer responsibility

Employers must adhere to several requirements once a child support order has been issued. Your responsibilities may include: 

Click here for the full list of requirements as outlined by the US Department of Health & Human Services.

Rehiring an employee with a garnishment

When rehiring an employee all previous garnishments will be deactivated and will need to be re-entered in the employee's profile per the issued court order. Notification of the rehire may be required by the state. 

Injured employees with active garnishment orders

If an employee has been injured or is ill and unable to work, you should notify the court or agency that sent the withholding notice and provide the employee’s name and the name and address of any entity paying workers’ compensation or disability benefits.

If none of the benefits are being paid by the employer, the employer is usually not responsible for withholding. If you have questions about withholding responsibility, please reach out directly to the agency. 


Disclaimer: This article is not to be taken as tax, legal, benefits, financial, or HR advice. Rules and regulations change over time and vary by location. Consult a lawyer or HR expert for specific guidance.