CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT ORDERS
EARNINGS ASSIGNMENT ORDER
Family Code Section 5241
(a) An employer who willfully fails to withhold and forward support pursuant
to a currently valid assignment order entered and served upon the employer
pursuant to this chapter is liable to the obligee for the amount of support
not withheld, forwarded, or otherwise paid to the obligee,including any
(b) If an employer withholds support as required by the assignment order,
the obligor shall not be held in contempt or subject to criminal prosecution
for nonpayment of the support that was withheld by the employer but not
received by the obligee. In addition, the employer is liable to the obligee
for any interest incurred as a result of the employer's failure to
timely forward the withheld support pursuant to an assignment earnings order.
(c) In addition to any other penalty or liability provided by law, willful
failure by an employer to comply with an assignment order is punishable
as a contempt pursuant to Section 1218 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(d) If an employer withholds support, as required by the assignment order,
but fails to forward the support to the obligee, the local child support
agency shall take appropriate action to collect the withheld sums from
the employer. The child support obligee or the local child support agency
upon application may obtain an order requiring payment of support by electronic
transfer from the employer's bank account if the employer has willfully
failed to comply with the assignment order or if the employer has failed
to comply with the assignment order on three separate occasions within
a 12-month period. Where a court finds that an employer has willfully
failed to comply with the assignment order or has otherwise failed to
comply with the assignment order on three separate occasions within a
12-month period, the court may impose a civil penalty, in addition to
any other penalty required by law, of up to 50 percent of the support
amount that has not been received by the obligee.
(e) To facilitate employer awareness, the local child support agency shall
make reasonable efforts to notify any employer subject to an assignment
order pursuant to this chapter of the electronic fund transfer provision
and enhanced penalties provided by this act.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any penalty payable pursuant
to this subdivision shall be payable directly to the obligee. The local
child support agency shall not be required to establish or collect this
penalty on behalf of the obligee. The penalty shall not be included when
determining the income of the obligee for the purpose of determining the
eligibility of the obligee for benefits payable pursuant to state supplemental
A court may issue the order requiring payment of support by electronic
transfer from the employer's bank account and impose the penalty described
in this subdivision, after notice and hearing.
This provision shall not be construed to expand or limit the duties and
obligations of the Labor Commissioner, as set forth in Section 200 and
following of the Labor Code.