What to Know About Child Support Garnishment Orders in Texas
Are you a parent going through a divorce or separation? If so, you may have questions about child support and wage garnishment. Texas has some unique laws and regulations regarding the withholding of child support. In this article, our Houston child support attorney explains the most important things that parents should know about child support garnishments and child support withholding in Texas.
The State of Texas Uses the Term ‘Income Withholding’
In the context of child support, you may hear the term ‘wage garnishment’ used. However, Texas uses the alternative term ‘income withholding’ in official proceedings. As explained by the Attorney General of Texas, income withholding is essentially the same thing as a wage garnishment. Money will be taken directly from an employee’s paycheck and used to satisfy an outstanding financial obligation.
Withholding is Automatic With a Support Order—But Parties Can Stipulate Otherwise
One of the unique things about the child support laws in Texas is that income withholding (wage garnishment) is automatic with a child support order. Under Texas law (Texas Family Code §158.001), state courts can put an income withholding order in at the same time as the initial child support order. A parent does not have to be behind on their payments for wage withholding.
However, Texas does acknowledge that income withholding is not the best option for every couple. While wage withholding is automatic with a child support order, parties have the ability to stipulate otherwise. Under state law, a court will not issue a child support income withholding order if “ good cause is shown” or there has been an “agreement of the parties.”
The Maximum Wage Withholding for Child Support is 50 Percent of Disposable Income
Texas law limits income withholding at 50 percent of a parent’s disposable income for domestic obligations, including child support. Disposable income includes the amount that is left after taxes, Social Security, and other required financial deductions have already been taken out of the paycheck. Calculating a maximum withholding can be more complicated if the obligor (parent who owes child support) is subject to multiple garnishment orders.
Custodial Parents Have Additional Collection Tools Available for Back Child Support
If you are owed back child support, wage withholding can be an effective way to get the money. Though, it is not the most effective option in every case. Other legal tools, such as a child support lien, may be more useful in certain situations. If you have any questions about child support enforcement, an experienced Houston family lawyer can help.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Child Support Lawyer in Houston
At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Houston child support attorneys are committed to providing sound legal advice and trustworthy guidance. If you have questions about child support garnishment/wage withholding, we are here to help. Contact our firm now for a confidential initial consultation. From our Houston law office, we provide child support legal services throughout Southeastern Texas, including in Galveston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land.