Wage Garnishment Texas: Texas Child Support Garnishment

When Texas child custody proceedings have concluded, the Texas Child Support Division or a County Domestic Relations Office will assign the noncustodial parent with an order for child support collection. Wage garnishment in Texas is enforced by the noncustodial parent’s employer, or administrator of other income. If an employer is served with an order for both child support garnishment and spousal support, the employer is responsible for indicating the amounts of each payment. The employer should be aware that there are different deadlines for remitting payment to the Texas State Disbursement Unit, depending on if they send the payment electronically or by check. The following information offers a basic explanation of Texas child support garnishment law.

Texas Child Support Collection

In Texas, a support order is generally issued by the Child Support Division or a County Domestic Relations Office. A support order, or writ of withholding, can either be for spousal maintenance, child support, or a combination of both. When a support order combines withholding for both spousal maintenance and child support, the withheld amounts are to be remitted to the agency or other person specified in the order. The withheld amount must be remitted in the form that the agency requires on the order, and it must be clear which amount is to be applied to spousal maintenance, and which amount is applied to child support. Further, if money is withheld for arrearages, the remitted amount to be applied towards the arrearages must be clearly indicated.  An employee may file a notarized request that the court issue and deliver a support order to the employer. This request must be signed by both the employee and the obligee of the payment.

Who Withholds the Money 

A notice to withhold must be served on either a person authorized to receive service of process for the employer, or an employer may designate someone to receive writs of withholding by written notice to the court. Once they are served with a writ of withholding, the writ is binding on an employer or an administrator of another source of income, regardless of whether or not they are named in the order.

When is Money Withheld 

When paying electronically, the employer must remit the withheld payment no later than two business days after the employee’s payday. Texas requires that employers with 250 or more employees make the payments electronically to the Texas State Disbursement Unit (SDU). Texas accepts electronic payments in either the Cash Concentration and Disbursement (CCD+) or the Corporate Trade Exchange (CTX) format. When paying by check, the employer must remit the payment on the date of the employee’s payday. An employer must remit payment every payday, regardless of how often the employer withholds. Further, the employer may not accumulate deductions and make a monthly payment. If an employer has more than one employee assigned to a writ of withholding, they may combine the payments and send them together to the SDU.

When combining payments, be sure to identify how much each employee is paying. Payments for spousal maintenance can only be sent to the SDU when there are child support payments being made as well. The SDU will not separate the payments from each other, but instead will send them to the custodial parent as one payment. The automated system of the SDU will also not distinguish between current support payments and arrearages. Therefore, do not sent money owed for attorneys’ fees or costs to the SDU, as the SDU will record these payments as child support payments and will send them to the support obligee. When remitting a payment to the SDU, the following information must be included:

  • Both the number assigned by the issuing agency and the county identification number;
  • The name of the county, or the county’s federal information processing code;
  • Case number of the suit;
  • The employee’s name and Social Security number; and
  • The custodial parent’s name and Social Security number, unless the payment is remitted electronically.

Out-of-State Orders 

Texas has adopted the rules and policies of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Under UIFSA, any employer or administrator of other income served with an out-of-state support order is legally bound to honor that order.