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If I marry my girl friend who owes back child support can they take money out of my check to pay her back and current support?

Sanborn, NY |

We live in NY but her case is in OH. She owes over $20,000 in back child support, is expected to pay $600 a month and hasn't worked in almost 2 years since she had our daughter. She keeps tryin to get it lowered to the minimum (then i can help her out) and they say they will put it under review and then never get back to her. She has tried twice with there being no changes. I wanna marry her and be able to claim her on my taxes since I support her but I'm worried I will lose my tax return, clear out my savings and they will start to garnish from my check.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Your wages cannot be garnished based on her child support obligation. However, if you file joint tax returns, the child support collection unit can intercept the tax refunds and apply those amounts to what she owes. Additionally, if you and her have joint savings/checking accounts, those assets can be seized to pay outstanding amounts in child support. If you and her own assets together, a judgment for the amount of child support she owes can be placed as a lien against jointly held property. Speak to an attorney about a pre-nuptial agreement before you marry her.


  2. If you marry her, then keep your assets in separate accounts. You should probably have a prenuptial agreement. She should consult with an Ohio lawyer to seek a downward modification of current support and to vacate the back support if that is feasible. She should also keep a job search diary immediately to show her efforts to find a job and also show her ability to support herself.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com.


  3. As long as one of the parents or the child live in Ohio, the order can only be modified by an Ohio court. Although each state has its own rules, I do not know of any state that could garnish a step parent's wages to pay child support for a step child. On the other hand, I agree with my colleague that you should not have joint accounts or joint tax returns, because it is possible that your fiance's accounts could be attached for back child support.

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