Boring Details

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Texas Non-garnishment Wage Garnishment for Child Support

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I’m not messing with Texas. Seriously, I’m not. It just so happens that I’m spending a fair amount of time these days researching the Texas laws relating to garnishment. In addition to pure judicial garnishment and pure administrative garnishment, child support judicial ‘wage garnishment’ is a separate procedural category.

There are, at least, three general categories of garnishment in Texas:

(1) Traditional judicial civil garnishment under Texas CP §63.001 to §63.008, for the collection of private, non-support, debts. Generally, the Texas Constitution (Article 16 Sec. 28) prohibits wage garnishment for these types of debts. Also, Tex. CP § 63.004 specifically exempts current wages from this type of garnishment:

“Except as otherwise provided by state or federal law, current wages for personal service are not subject to garnishment. The garnishee shall be discharged from the garnishment as to any debt to the defendant for current wages.”

(2) Child support wage garnishments may be either judicial or administrative. The rules applicable to judicial child support wage garnishments are contained within Texas Family Code §§ 5.158.001 to 5.158.507. This type of wage garnishment is called “income withholding” or “withholding from earnings,” but it is not called wage garnishment.

(3) Pure administrative wage garnishments. The clearest example of this type is and IRS wage levy for the collection of federal taxes. Administrative garnishments also include debt collection tools related to federal student loans, federally insured student loans (but not private non-insured student loans) and the collection of general debts to the federal government.

From a debtor’s point a view, the distinction between a wage garnishment, an income withholding or a wage levy seems insignificant. The net result is the same in each instance: Money is involuntarily deducted from a paycheck. Of course, the distinctions among the various different types of wage garnishment and non-garnishment wage ‘withholding’  or ‘levy’ is critical if there is a wish to challenge the process.

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Written by Tom Fox

February 28, 2014 at 9:42 am

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