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How does income withholding work?


In a divorce or child custody case, the children usually spend most of their time living with one parent, and the judge will typically order the other parent to pay child support (the parents are then often referred to as "custodial" and "non-custodial" parents, which are not official legal terms, but we will use them to make the discussion easier).


Now that a court has ordered the noncustodial parent to pay child support, how does the custodial parent actually receive those payments?


What is an Income Withholding Order?

An "Income Withholding Order" (IWO) is a tool that the State of Texas often uses to collect child support from the noncustodial parent. The IWO is an order issued by the court to the non-custodial parents' employer to withhold child custody payments from that parent's paycheck.


After the employer withholds child support payments, it forwards that money to the Texas State Disbursement Unit, and the State Disbursement Unit forwards those child support payments to the custodial parent.


How can I get an Income Withholding Order?

Normally, when a divorce or child custody case ends, the judge who signs your final order with also give authorization for an IWO to be issued, but might not actually issue the IWO at that time. You can work with an attorney or the Texas Attorney General’s Office to make sure an IWO is issued, and sent to the noncustodial parent's current employer.


What happens if the noncustodial parent changes jobs?

Normally the final orders in a case require the noncustodial parent to alert the custodial parent and the District Clerk when they leave one job and start another. Giving that notice help prompt the custodial parent (or the Texas Attorney General's Office) to have an IWO issued to their new employer.


If a custodial parent experiences an interruption in child support when a noncustodial parent changes jobs, they should contact their attorney or the Texas Attorney General's Office to confirm a new IWO is being issued to the noncustodial parent's new employer.



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