How to Start Child Support or Alimony Payments
Follow the instructions below to collect child support or alimony from any member of the military, military retiree, or civilian employee one of the following agencies:
- Department of Defense
- Health and Human Services
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Broadcast Board of Governors
- Department of Energy
You must send DFAS an order from a court or child support enforcement agency (CSEA) that directs the government to pay monies for support or alimony.
For child support, contact an attorney or your local child support enforcement agency to obtain an Income Deduction Order or Income Withholding Order. For alimony, you might want to contact an attorney to obtain a garnishment.
Please send the income withholding order or similar document to DFAS at the address or fax number below. You do not need to send the underlying order, (e.g., a divorce/separation decree).
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
P.O. Box 998002
Cleveland, Ohio 44199-8002
Fax: 877-622-5930 (toll-free)
Please include a return address on all correspondence, not just the return envelope.
Garnishment Operations uses a fax gateway to direct documents into our Electronic Document Management System. To ensure your document is processed in a timely and efficient manner, you must include the following information on the fax document and follow the additional guidance provided:
- Member/Employee Social Security Number (Court orders/documents will not be processed without it.)
- Return Phone Number
- Return Fax Number
Please ensure original documents are clear and legible. And, in each fax transmission, include only correspondence for one member or employee at a time.
About the Withholding Order
The order submitted cannot be the divorce decree or other order that directs the individual (obligor) to make the payment. Rather, the order must direct the government, as the employer, to withhold money and remit payments to satisfy the support obligation. The withholding order need not name the specific government office in which the obligor is employed, but it must provide the following information:
- the obligor's full legal name
- the obligor's social security number
The federal regulation amended the definition of "child support" to include such items as court costs, administrative fees, and attorney's fees so those items can now be collected if the withholding order directs them to be.
DFAS does not charge a fee for honoring income withholding orders for child support, alimony or related arrearages (overdue support or alimony payments).
Pay Schedule and Direct Deposit
For information about pay dates and establishing direct deposit, please visit the following page:
Law and Implementing Regulation
Federal law authorizes the pay of active, reserve, and retired members of the military and the pay of civilian employees of the federal government to be garnished (or attached) for the payment of child and/or spousal support. The law is found at 42 U.S.C. 659, and the implementing regulation is found at 5 C.F.R. Part 581.
If you have questions about child support or alimony, please call 888-DFAS-411 or 888-332-7411.
Updated: April 1, 2011