Making Payment by Income Withholding Order (IWO / IDO)

If you are ordered to pay child support (or other support) by Income Withholding Order (IWO), we have a few things for you to keep in mind. We’ll start by giving you a couple of critical pieces of advice to keep your account in good standing with the court and then some general reminders and tips.

Critical Tip #1 – Know Your Specific Obligations (in detail)

First, make sure you clearly understand what your obligations are (in detail).  A common problem is for someone to think that just because their employer is withholding money from their paycheck that everything is fine – that may not be the case.

Read your final judgment, settlement agreement, IWO and other Orders carefully so you are clear when your payments begin.  It is imperative that you clearly understand when payments begin, how much and how often payments should be, and when payments will end.  If you are not certain about any of these items ask your attorney or call the Clerk Of Court right away.

In our experience, telling judges “you didn’t understand” usually doesn’t help your case.  It is best to make sure you understand your obligations from the start.

Critical Tip #2 – Know Your Due Date

Know what the payment due date means – precisely. For example, if your are ordered to pay $300 on the 15th of the month, it usually means the ENTIRE $300 is due BEFORE the 15th of the month.

The wording in the order varies greatly from order to order so discuss with your attorney or the Clerk Of Court if you have questions.

Critical Tip #3 – Monitor The First Few Months Of Payments Very Closely

Be very diligent about monitoring the first several months of payments because it is YOUR responsibility to ensure payments are made on time.  Be aware of the administrative delays associated with starting a new Income Withholding Order and the general legal process.  It is common for a judge to sign a final judgment that may order payments to begin soon (sometimes just days after signing).  However, it can take weeks for the administrative process of having money withheld from paychecks to begin.  During this transition time, the payor usually must make payments directly to ensure payments do not become delinquent.  Once a few months have elapsed and regular deductions from paychecks have been going for awhile, the process usually goes smoothly.

If you are not sure where you stand, call the Clerk Of Court and ask them. You can also pick up a payment history showing exactly when you have been assessed support, when payments have been received, and any fees or interest you have been charged. They do charge a small fee to print this for you.

General Tips, Reminders and Warnings About Paying by IWO

Monitor The IWO Termination Date Closely

When you reach the period when payments are supposed to terminate, be very careful not to over pay.  Confirm with the Clerk Of Court to confirm your current balance. Contact your payroll department in advance to ensure they are aware payments are terminating and understand when the last payment will be made. Double check with the Clerk Of Court that it is correct with their records.  It can be difficult, or impractical, to get refunds for over payments (paying too much) so make sure termination of payments is done at the correct time.

By Tim Carr, Firm Manager. Last updated on February 2nd, 2020.