Code of the District of Columbia

§ 46–207. Enforcement by withholding.

(a) All support orders, whether they are original orders or modifications of existing orders, that are effective on or after January 1, 1994, or that are effective on or after November 1, 1990 in cases being enforced by the IV-D agency pursuant to title IV, part D of the Social Security Act, approved January 4, 1975 (88 Stat. 2351; 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.), shall be immediately enforceable by withholding, unless the Court finds there is good cause not to require immediate withholding or the parties agree in writing to an alternative method of payment.

(b) A finding of good cause not to require immediate withholding pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be based on at least:

(1) A written finding and explanation by the Court establishing the reasons that immediate withholding would not be in the best interests of the child; and

(2) Proof of timely payment of previously ordered support in cases involving the modification of support orders.

(c) A written agreement to an alternative method of payment shall be signed by the parties, and by the IV-D agency for support orders being enforced by the IV-D agency. The agreement shall be submitted to the Court for its review and approval, and entered into the Court’s record.

(d) All support orders being enforced by the IV-D agency that are not immediately enforceable by withholding under subsection (a) of this section, including support orders subject to a finding of good cause or a written agreement to an alternative method of payment, shall become enforceable by withholding on the earliest of:

(1) The date the obligor requests that the withholding begin;

(2) The date the custodian requests that the withholding begin; provided, that the IV-D agency approves the request pursuant to procedures the IV-D agency adopts for determining that withholding is in the best interests of the child; or

(3) The date on which arrearages equal one month of support payments.

(e) A support order shall be enforceable by withholding pursuant to subsection (a) or (d) of this section regardless of whether or not the Court has entered an order authorizing withholding as a means of enforcement.

(f) All support orders not enforceable by withholding under subsection (a) or (d) of this section shall be enforceable by withholding on the effective date of a court order authorizing the withholding. The Court shall enter an order authorizing withholding, at the request of a party, upon a showing that:

(1) Arrearages equal one month of support payments; or

(2) Withholding is in the best interests of the child.


(Feb. 24, 1987, D.C. Law 6-166, § 8, 33 DCR 6710; July 25, 1990, D.C. Law 8-150, § 4(b), 37 DCR 3720; Mar. 16, 1995, D.C. Law 10-217, § 2(b), 41 DCR 8040; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-170, § 2(b), 43 DCR 4480; Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-269, § 108(g), 48 DCR 1270; Mar. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-130, § 203(c), 51 DCR 1615; Dec. 7, 2004, D.C. Law 15-205, § 3403(e), 51 DCR 8441; May 12, 2006, D.C. Law 16-100, § 3(f), 53 DCR 1886.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 30-507.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-911, § 46-205, § 46-207.01, and § 46-209.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-269 rewrote the section which had read:

“(a) The Court shall be the instrumentality for withholding earnings and other income under this chapter.

“(a-1) For an original support order or modification of a support order that is effective on or after January 1, 1994, notice that support payments shall be withheld from earnings or other income immediately, unless the Court finds there is good cause not to impose immediate withholding or the parties agree in writing to an alternative method of payment.

“(b) All Court orders or decrees directing the payment of child or spousal and child support, whether they are original orders or modifications of existing orders, shall contain the following:

“(2) The name, address, and telephone number of the obligor’s current employer and a provision that the obligor has a duty to notify the Court within 10 days of any change of this information;

“(4) In the case of a support order that is issued or modified on or after November 1, 1990, a finding of good cause not to require immediate withholding shall be based on at least:

“(A) A written explanation by the court of why immediate wage withholding would not be in the best interest of the child; and

“(5) A provision that directs the absent parent to keep the IV-D Program informed of whether the absent parent has access to health coverage at a reasonable cost and, if so, the health policy information.

“(1) Any order for child support with an income withholding order under § 16-916, Chapter 7 of this title, or § 4-213.01;

“(5) Any order registered pursuant to Chapter 7 of this title;

“(6) Any support order of another jurisdiction that has been docketed pursuant to § 46-222; and

D.C. Law 15-130 rewrote par. (6) of subsec. (b) which had read:

“(6) Notice that if the obligor provides health insurance coverage for the child and changes to another employer that provides health care coverage, the IV-D agency or the Collection and Disbursement Unit will notify the new employer of the health insurance coverage provision in the support order, and that the employer’s receipt of the notice from the IV-D agency or Collection and Disbursement Unit shall operate to enroll the child in the obligor’s health plan with the new employer, unless the obligor contests the notice in accordance with rules adopted by the Mayor or the Superior Court, as appropriate;”

D.C. Law 15-205, in subsec. (a-1), substituted “Court” for “Collection and Disbursement Unit”; in subsec. (b), substituted “IV-D agency and the Court” for “Collection and Disbursement Unit” in par. (2), substituted “Court” for “Collection and Disbursement Unit” in par. (5), validated a previously made technical correction in par. (6), rewrote par. (7), and, in par. (8), substituted “Court” for “Collection and Disbursement Unit”. Prior to amendment, par. (7) of subsec. (b) had read as follows: “(7) Notice that the amount and name of the obligor and obligee of all support orders entered, modified, registered, or enforced in the District after December 23, 1997, shall be reported to a consumer credit reporting agency if the obligor’s support obligations are over 30 days past due; and”.

D.C. Law 16-100 rewrote the section, which had read:

“(a) Repealed.

“(a-1) For an original support order or modification of a support order that is effective on or after January 1, 1994, or that is effective on or after November 1, 1990 in cases being enforced pursuant to title IV, part D of the Social Security Act, approved January 4, 1975 (88 Stat. 2351; 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.), the Court shall direct immediately the withholding of support payments sufficient to satisfy the obligation from earnings or other income, unless the Court finds there is good cause not to impose immediate withholding, or the parties agree in writing to an alternative method of payment. Withholding implemented pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed immediate withholding.

“(a-2) A finding of good cause not to impose immediate withholding pursuant to subsection (a-1) of this section shall be based on at least:

“(1) A written finding and explanation by the Court establishing the reasons that implementing immediate withholding would not be in the best interests of the child; and

“(2) Proof of timely payment of previously ordered support in cases involving the modification of support orders.

“(a-3) A written agreement to an alternative method of payment shall be signed by the parties, and by the IV-D agency in cases where there has been an assignment of support rights to the District of Columbia. The agreement shall be submitted to the Court for its review and approval, and entered into the Court’s record.

“(b) All support orders, whether they are original orders or modifications of existing orders, shall contain the following:

“(1) Notice that support payments shall be withheld from earnings or other income as provided in subsection (a-1) of this section;

“(2) The name, address, and telephone number of the obligor’s current employer and a provision that the obligor has a duty to notify the IV-D agency and the Court within 10 days of any change of this information;

“(3) Notice that a withholding order may be changed upon motion from either party to request a reapportionment of periodic arrears payments to reflect a change in the obligor’s ability to pay;

“(4) In the case of a support order that is issued or modified on or after November 1, 1990, notice that a finding of good cause not to require immediate withholding shall be based on at least:

“(A) A written explanation by the court of why immediate wage withholding would not be in the best interest of the child;

“(B) If the modification of a support order is at issue, a written explanation that there is proof of timely payment of previously ordered support obligations; and

“(5) Terms providing for the payment of the child’s medical expenses, whether or not health insurance is available to pay for those expenses, which shall include a provision directing the obligor and obligee to notify the IV-D agency, and the Court, of the following:

“(A) Any change in either the obligor’s or the obligee’s access to health insurance coverage for the child or in the reasonableness of the costs of coverage; and

“(B) All health insurance policy information necessary to enroll the child in the health insurance to which the obligor or obligee has access;

“(6) Notice that if the obligor is required under the support order to provide health insurance coverage for a child, the obligor’s employer will, upon receipt of notice of the health insurance coverage provision, enroll the child in health insurance coverage and deduct the premiums from the obligor’s earnings in accordance with §§ 1-307.41, 1-307.42, and subchapter II of this chapter.

“(7) Notice that the amount and name of the obligor and obligee of all support orders entered, modified, registered, or enforced in the District after December 23, 1997, shall be reported to a consumer credit reporting agency if the obligor owes overdue support in the amount of $1000 or more.

“(8) A provision that directs the parties to file and update with the IV-D agency and with the Court the information required by § 46-226.02.

“(c) The following orders shall be enforceable by means of withholding earnings or other income:

“(1) Any support order with an income withholding order under § 16-916; Chapter 3 of this title; or § 4-213.01;

“(2) Any order for a wage garnishment or wage assignment for child support in effect on February 24, 1987, to the extent that the order does not exceed the maximum amounts permitted under 15 U.S.C. § 1673(b);

“(3) Any Court order or final decree of divorce requiring the payment of child support by a parent;

“(4) Any separation agreement requiring the payment of child support by a parent;

“(5) Any order registered for enforcement pursuant to Chapter 3 of this title;

“(6) Any support order entered in another jurisdiction against an obligor who has earnings or other income in the District of Columbia; and

“(7) Any order for spousal support when it is part of a child support obligation that is being enforced under Part D of Subchapter IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.), and the spouse or former spouse is living with the child.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Child Support Enforcement Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-250, April 15, 1996, 43 DCR 2131),§ 2(b) of the Child Support Enforcement Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-304, July 31, 1996, 43 DCR 4474), and see § 2(b) of the Child Support Enforcement Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-31, March 11, 1997, 44 DCR 1904).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 7(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act 1997 (D.C. Act 12-222, December 23, 1997, 44DCR 114).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 7(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-309, March 20, 1998, 45 DCR 1923), § 7(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-439, August 12, 1998, 45 DCR 6110), § 7(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-503, October 27, 1998, 45 DCR 8495), and § 7(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-600, January 20, 1999, 46 DCR 1239).

For temporary repeal of D.C. Law 12-103, see § 13 of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-439, August 12, 1998, 45 DCR 6110).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 107(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-126, August 4, 1999, 46 DCR 6606).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 107(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-177, November 2, 1999, 46 DCR 9678).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 107(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-241, January 11, 2000, 47 DCR 581).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 107(g) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-446, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9213).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 108(g) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-5, February 13, 2001, 48 DCR 2440).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 203(c) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-485, October 3, 2002, 49 DCR 9631).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 203(c) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-600, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 664).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 203(c) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Emergency Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-208, October 24, 2003, 50 DCR 9856).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 203(c) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-330, January 28, 2004, 51 DCR 1603).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3403(e) of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-486, August 2, 2004, 51 DCR 8236).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3403(e) of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2004 D.C. Act 15-594, October 26, 2004, 51 DCR 11725).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(g) of Income Withholding Transfer and Revision Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-167, July 26, 2005, 52 DCR 7648).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 3(h) of Income Withholding Transfer and Revision Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-167, July 26, 2005, 52 DCR 7648).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(g) of Income Withholding Transfer and Revision Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-200, November 17, 2005, 52 DCR 10490).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 3(h) of Income Withholding Transfer and Revision Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-200, November 17, 2005, 52 DCR 10490).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Child Support Enforcement Temporary Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Law 10-210, March 14, 1995, law notification 41 DCR 1526).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Child Support Enforcement Temporary Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Law 11-47, September 20, 1995, law notification 42 DCR 5506).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Child Support Enforcement Temporary Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Law 11-148, May 20, 1996, law notification 43 DCR 4353).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 7(e) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-103, May 8, 1998, law notification 45 DCR 3254).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 7(g) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-210, April 13, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 3832).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 107(g) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Law 13-57, March 7, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 1979).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 107(g) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-207, March 31, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 3238).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 203(c) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-238, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2751).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 203(c) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Temporary Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Law 15-84, March 10, 2004, law notification 51 DCR 3376).

Section 3(g) of D.C. Law 16-42 rewrote section to read as follows:

“Sec. 8. Enforcement by withholding.

“(a) All support orders, whether they are original orders or modifications of existing orders, that are effective on or after January 1, 1994, or that are effective on or after November 1, 1990 in cases being enforced by the IV-D agency pursuant to title IV, part D of the Social Security Act, approved January 4, 1975 (88 Stat. 2351; 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.), shall be immediately enforceable by withholding, unless the Court finds there is good cause not to require immediate withholding or the parties agree in writing to an alternative method of payment.

“(b) A finding of good cause not to require immediate withholding pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be based on at least:

“(1) A written finding and explanation by the Court establishing the reasons that immediate withholding would not be in the best interests of the child; and

“(2) Proof of timely payment of previously ordered support in cases involving the modification of support orders.

“(c) A written agreement to an alternative method of payment shall be signed by the parties, and by the IV-D agency for support orders being enforced by the IV-D agency. The agreement shall be submitted to the Court for its review and approval, and entered into the Court’s record.

“(d) All support orders being enforced by the IV-D agency that are not immediately enforceable by withholding under subsection (a) of this section, including support orders subject to a finding of good cause or a written agreement to an alternative method of payment, shall become enforceable by withholding on the earliest of:

“(1) The date the obligor requests that the withholding begin;

“(2) The date the custodian requests that the withholding begin; provided, that the IV-D agency approves the request pursuant to procedures the IV-D agency adopts for determining that withholding is in the best interests of the child; or

“(3) The date on which arrearages equal one month of support payments.

“(e) A support order shall be enforceable by withholding pursuant to subsection (a) or (d) of this section regardless of whether or not the Court has entered an order authorizing withholding as a means of enforcement.

“(f) All support orders not enforceable by withholding under subsection (a) or (d) of this section shall be enforceable by withholding on the effective date of a court order authorizing the withholding. The Court shall enter an order authorizing withholding, at the request of a party, upon a showing that:

“(1) Arrearages equal one month of support payments; or

“(2) Withholding is in the best interests of the child.”

Section 3(h) of D.C. Law 16-42 added section to read as follows:

“Sec. 8a. Implementation of withholding.

“(a) The IV-D agency shall implement withholding for support orders enforceable by withholding pursuant to section 8 by issuing an order to withhold in the format prescribed by federal law and serving this order on the holder of the obligor’s earnings or other income as follows:

“(1) For support orders that are immediately enforceable by withholding pursuant to section 8(a), within 2 business days after the date the support order is received if the holder’s address is known, or, if the holder’s address is unknown, within 2 business days after receiving or locating the holder’s address.

“(2) For support orders that become enforceable by withholding pursuant to section 8(d), within 2 business days after the date the support order becomes enforceable by withholding if the holder’s address is known, or, if the holder’s address is unknown, within 2 business days after receiving or locating the holder’s address.

“(3) For support orders enforceable by withholding pursuant to section 8(f), within 2 business days of receipt of a written request from the Court or a party that includes a copy of the support order and the order authorizing the withholding; provided, that the holder’s address is known, or if the holder’s address is unknown, within 2 business days after receiving the holder’s address.

“(b) If an obligor changes employment while a withholding is in effect, the IV-D agency shall serve an order to withhold on the new holder within 2 business days after receiving or locating the new holder’s address.

“(c) For the purpose of this section, the IV-D agency shall be deemed to have received the holder’s address on the date the IV-D agency’s computerized support enforcement system receives notice of income or an income source from a court, a state, a holder, the Federal Parent Locator Service, or another source recognized by the IV-D agency, or the date information regarding a newly hired employee is entered into the District of Columbia Directory of New Hires pursuant to section 27f. The Court shall provide the IV-D agency with information it receives concerning the name or address of a holder within 2 business days after receiving the information.

“(d) The IV-D agency shall use the automated system it maintains pursuant to section 27j to the maximum extent that is feasible to assist and facilitate the collection and disbursement of support payments and the implementation of withholding, including:

“(1) Transmission of orders to withhold to employers and other holders;

“(2) Ongoing monitoring to promptly identify failures to make timely payment of support; and

“(3) Automatic use of enforcement procedures if payments are not timely made.

“(e) Any person or entity may serve a notice to withhold in the format prescribed by federal law on a holder of an obligor’s earnings or other income to inform the holder that the obligor’s support order is enforceable by withholding and to require the holder to implement withholding in accordance with this act. A person or entity serving a notice to withhold shall provide a copy of the support order and the order authorizing the withholding to the holder with the notice.

“(f) Notices and orders to withhold may be served without prior notice to the obligor, by in person delivery, certified mail, first-class mail, facsimile, or electronically, if the holder can receive electronic notices.”

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 16-42 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.