Income Withholding

Often employers need clarification of the exact definition of terms used in the income withholding orders. Below are excerpts of the Texas Family Code clearly providing the definition of the terms.

Texas Family Code Definitions

The Texas Family Code provides definitions that determine the maximum amount that can be withheld for support from an employee’s earnings.

  1. Texas law does not limit amount withheld for dependent health insurance.

    Texas law does not expressly place any limits on the amount an employer can withhold from an employee’s earnings to satisfy a court order for dependent health insurance.

  2. Texas Family Code’s definition of “earnings”

    The Texas Family Code’s definition of “earnings” is extremely broad:

    § 101.011. EARNINGS

    “Earnings” means a payment to or due an individual, regardless of source and how denominated. The term includes a periodic or lump‑sum payment for:

    • wages, salary, compensation received as an independent contractor, overtime pay, severance pay, commission, bonus, and interest income;
    • payments made under a pension, an annuity, workers’ compensation, and a disability or retirement program; and
    • unemployment benefits.

  3. Texas Family Code’s definition of “disposable earnings”


    “Disposable earnings” means the part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amount required by law to be withheld, union dues, nondiscretionary retirement contributions, and medical, hospitalization, and disability insurance coverage for the obligor and the obligor’s children.

  4. TFC Chapter 158 § 158.009 Maximum Amount Withheld from Earnings

    An order or writ of withholding shall direct that any employer of the obligor withhold from the obligor’s disposable earnings the amount specified up to a maximum amount of 50% of the obligor’s disposable earnings.

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