For many years a dichotomy has existed between what Colorado law requires of employers withholding income for child support and the method used by most employers to calculate the withholding.
The dichotomy exists because child support is assessed monthly, but most employers do not pay monthly. Instead, they pay biweekly (26 pay periods/year) or weekly (52 pay periods/year). Biweekly and weekly payers often calculate child support payments by “annualizing.” This means that they multiply the monthly child support amount by 12 months and divide the result by either 26 or 52. This causes the amount of child support paid to be “short” for approximately ten months of the year and “long” for approximately two months. Over the year, however, the entire amount due is paid.
Although “annualizing” is easier for biweekly and weekly payers, this method does not comply with Colorado law. The law says that employers who pay more frequently than monthly, “….shall withhold per pay period an appropriate percentage of the monthly amount due so that the total withheld during the month will total the monthly amount due.”
The Division of Child Support Enforcement wants you to know that it will soon begin adjusting the amounts used to populate the weekly and the biweekly amounts on the income withholding form. The amounts will be derived by dividing the monthly child support amount by 2 (for biweekly payroll) or by 4 (for weekly payroll). This ensures that employers will withhold the full, monthly amount due. And this means that employers will not withhold from the “extra” pay periods unless the employee is not able to pay the full, monthly amount due with the first two biweekly or first four weekly checks without exceeding legal limits.
Contact MSEC with questions about child support and other types of income withholding.