Wage assignment refers to a legal process where child support payments are automatically deducted from the paying parent’s wages or income and forwarded to the receiving parent or the state child support enforcement agency. It is a mechanism designed to ensure timely and consistent payment of child support obligations, reducing the risk of delinquency and providing financial support for the child’s needs.
What Is Wage Assignment?
In Texas, wage assignment, also known as income withholding, is a common method used to enforce child support orders. Child support payments are automatically deducted from the paying parent’s wages or income. This helps streamline the payment process and reduce the risk of non-payment or delinquency.
Wage Assignment in Texas Child Support
Here’s how wage assignment works in Texas.
Court Order for Wage Assignment
When a child support order is established or modified, the court may include provisions for wage assignment as part of the order. The court orders the paying parent’s employer to deduct a specified amount of child support from the parent’s wages or income and send it directly to the state child support enforcement agency or the receiving parent.
Notification to the Employer
Once the court orders wage assignment, the paying parent’s employer is notified of the obligation to withhold child support from the employee’s wages. The employer is required by law to comply with the court order and withhold the specified amount of child support from the employee’s paycheck.
Calculation of Child Support Amount
The amount of child support subject to wage assignment is determined based on the child support guidelines established by Texas law. The guidelines take into account factors such as the parents’ income, the number of children, and any special needs of the child.
The court calculates the amount of child support owed by the paying parent, and this amount is then deducted from the parent’s wages through wage assignment.
Relevant Law: Texas Family Code Chapter 154.
Frequency of Payments
Child support payments deducted through wage assignment are typically made on a regular schedule, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the paying parent’s pay schedule. The employer is responsible for deducting the child support amount from the employee’s paycheck and forwarding it to the appropriate recipient, usually the state child support agency or the receiving parent.
Enforcement of Wage Assignment
Employers in Texas are legally obligated to comply with wage assignment orders issued by the court. Failure to comply with a wage assignment order can result in penalties, fines, and other legal consequences for the employer. Additionally, the state child support enforcement agency has the authority to enforce wage assignment orders and take action against non-compliant employers.
Modification and Termination
Wage assignment orders can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances. If there is a change in the paying parent’s income, employment status, or other relevant factors, either parent can petition the court to modify the wage assignment order. Likewise, if the child support obligation is fulfilled or if the child support order is terminated, the wage assignment order may be terminated accordingly.