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Can my tax refund be garnished for child support in California?

Los Angeles, CA |

Ok so here's some background info. My child is 10. 6 years out of his life I was incarcerated. I was released 2 Years ago. I became employed for 4 months early last year. My checks where being garnished for 400.00 a month! The child support order mas made while incarcerated and the my childs mother decided to go back to the child support agency and re open my case therefore I was order to pay 400 dollars a month. My child's mother has been getting Cash Aid/ Welfare and FoodStamps throughout my childs whole life. So my payments are going to the welfare I guess. Now I am married and have 4 step children. Haven't adopted them legally but I support them and my wife. I am unemployed but I want to do my taxes. Should I file jointly, seperate or never married? I've only been married for 4 months.

My questions are: Will be tax refund be garnished? And if so how much? What is best to do with filing jointly or filing separate or never married? Since my child's mother is receiving goverment assitance, Can I get my whole tax refund? I am currently in the process to get approved for General Relief and I believe child support automatically closes my case when both parent receive aid. My back amount due currently is 1,500.00 However when released from prison I had a 2,000.00 amount due. I was on General Relief and due to that my amount was lowered to 0 and owed nothing. So now that I will receive GR again, Can it be lowered to 0 until I become employed again? The order of 400 made was unfair also due to being incarcerated so I plan on modifing.

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Attorney answers 3


There are several issues with your case. First, if there are child support arrears they can take your tax refund to satisfy the arrears. The only way to stop that is to apply the refund to next year’s taxes but that will not stop the State refund from being intercepted.
Second. If you are going on general relief you need to have the support order modified. The order will continue to accrue until it is modified. Just because DCSS is not collecting does not mean it is not accruing.
You need to go by the court facilitator’s office and talk to them about modifying your support order.


You can't file single. You have to file married jointly or married separately. Your refund can be intercepted to pay back child support. To the extent that the refund belongs to your wife, if it is taken she may file for injured spouse relief.

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mrs. Cook is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in San Diego County. She is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, please be advised that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used or relied upon, and cannot be used or relied upon, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.


You must file either married filing jointly or married filing separate. Your tax refund can be garnished for child support payments due.