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My husband owes child support to another person. I am sole breadwinner. Can she go after my wages?

Albany, CA |

He is stay-at-home father and works very little/makes very little money. We are married and we rely on my income to make ends meet. If he owes child support, can she go after my money? If we cannot afford to support our family with his wages being garnished, how can I claim an exemption? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much!

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Legal authority does not support a court issueing a wage assignment against your regular employment wages for your current spouse’s support owed to his prior spouse. However, if you file joint tax returns any refunds can be garnished and you will have to file the appropriate paperwork with the IRS and/or the state to receive your ½ share of the return if the governing entity determines you to be an injured spouse. Additionally, if you have joint bank accounts a levy can be placed on the bank account and the account swept. While you may get your ½ share back eventually you will take a devastating financial hit in the meantime. It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney and determine the best ways to protect your current community funds from being applied to the child support debt of your spouse.

    DISCLAIMER: This answer and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should always seek competent counsel for advice on any legal matter.


  2. Keep your funds in your name only, and put them in a separate account; do not have joint accounts. If you have real property make sure his name is not on the title before they record a lien. If he makes a less money than when the Order was initiated, file a motion to reduce child support. Provided his name is not on the account they cannot attach your earnings for child support. In regard to the claiming the exemption, you should speak to your CPA, tax consultant, or tax attorney.

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  3. The short answer is NO, she cannot go after your wages. However, the above poster makes a valid point. If you have money in a JOINT account, half of that money is community and belongs to him. If they were to issue a writ of execution on that account, they could seize the money.

    His CS is a SP debt, however, it can be satisfied by CP money. Keep it separate! As far as the tax exemption is concerned - generally, if the child lives with you over 50% of the time, usually you can claim the exemption. But you should talk to your tax preparer to get a clearer understanding of this issue.

    Attorney James R. Fox If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer or select it as Best Answer. It’s easy and appreciated. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.

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