Income Withholding Order (IWO)

Income Withholding

The Income Withholding Order (IWO) is a court order served on employers that requires them to withhold a specified amount of an employee’s wages for payment of child and medical support. The IWO or court order is served on employers on form FL 195. It may also be referred to as a wage assignment, garnishment order, or an income withholding for support order. Employers may be served with an IWO by a local child support agency (LCSA), by private party, or by another state’s child support agency.

Income withholding is the most effective method of child support collection. In California, wage withholding accounts for more than 65 percent of child support collected.

2015 Changes to the IWO and NMSN Packets

On October 26, 2015, changes were implemented to the Income Withholding Order (IWO) and National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) form packets. Benefits include less paper, increased efficiency and better results.

The changes made to the packets are outlined below:

Termination Reporting

When an employee with a child support obligation through a local child support agency (LCSA) leaves your company, notify the LCSA as soon as possible. The Income Withholding Order includes a Termination Notice that can be sent to the LCSA.

Note: Employer SHALL NOT use an Order/Notice as grounds for refusing to hire a person or for taking disciplinary action against an employee. Employers could face civil penalties if they do so.

For more information:

Bonus/Lump Sum Reporting: Three Ways to Report

Bonus and lump sum payments made to employees are considered income and may be garnished to collect past-due child support. Examples include severance, vacation payouts, retirement incentives, commissions, awards, and payments as a result of verdicts.

Choose one of the options below to report these payments:

Report by e-IWO

The Electronic Income Withholding for Support Order (e-IWO) process enables states and employers to exchange information about IWOs electronically, which includes information about upcoming bonus or lump sum payments. This option provides employers with the fastest and most efficient method of sending information. To learn more, read the DCSS e-IWO Fact Sheet. To enroll, visit the federal e-IWO webpage.


Report by Employer Services Web Application

With this option, employers use the Employer Services Web Application to upload information about employees who are eligible to receive a bonus, lump sum or other type of payout. The California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will receive the information and, when appropriate, issue a Bonus/Lump Sum IWO via the employer's preferred method of transmission: fax, email, e-IWO, or USPS. For more information on how employers can participate in this quick and simple process, visit the Employer Services Web Application or email


Report by Phone or Email

Employers may report bonus or lump sum payments prior to payout by contacting DCSS at 916-464-6640 or If DCSS determines an IWO is appropriate, then it will issue a Bonus/Lump Sum IWO via the employers preferred method of transmission: fax, email, e-IWO or USPS.