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Federal restitution is owed. What's considered household income?

Camas, WA |

Incarcerated spouse has been in a fed. prison camp after a whilte collar crime he did not commit (took a plea). He has restitution to pay. We were legally separated years prior to his restitution judgment. I own a home (he does not). Can he live in my detached guest house and pay me rent? Or will my income be considered as household income when assessing the amount he has to pay per month in restitution? Would I be further protected if we were divorced? I would like to give him a helping hand when he gets out, but do not plan to comingle any funds and I do not want to lose my assets in the process.

Attorney Answers 2


Household income, generally, is the aggregate income of all members of a household, excluding renters and persons under the age of 18. This figure (which is offset by allowed household expenses) is used to determine the amount of resources that the responsible party has available to contribute to the outstanding restitution amount. However, no other member of the household will be responsible for the defendant's debt.

Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.

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Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr

Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr


Apologies for using the comment section of attorney Lowther, but this question is closed to fresh comments. My worry for this questioner involves the fact that Washington is a community property state, and that in 2010 an agreement was made with IRS whereby restitution becomes a general tax liability. I would hope that any years before separation were not the ones entangled with either the crime nor the restitution. Your facts are such that the IRS would hopefully not look with mind toward affecting your taxes, and assets, but they might (since they make many administrative mistakes). If separated husband moves back with you, others may not notice or give credence to the separation without going through a lot of trouble to establish it to them. Further, sometimes administrators don't understand fact patterns nor distinguish principles. Completing a divorce action gives an additional degree of a showing of separateness that is more likely to be understood by others, especially in a community property state. It might also help with future transactions (including those in which he might get into trouble, and including future transactions where people might look to two married people as still having an active community estate). All of this is said without any familiarity on my part with Washington community property laws. The above is just my thinking out loud about potential problems in future and the effect of remaining married. Attorney Lowther gave a great answer; and, as usual, is the best Federal Crime source of information on Avvo.


You should speak with a criminal tax lawyer concerning this.

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Tax attorney? I wasn't concerned about tax issues. Is this still your recommendation? (The white collar crime was not tax related either.)

Jeremy Brian Gordon

Jeremy Brian Gordon


Yes, it is. Federal restitution judgments are given the same effect as a tax lien, even when the victim owed the restitution is not the IRS. The exceptions available to collection of restitution follow tax law, so this is my best advice.

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