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Can the Govt take my husband's 401k, salary, stocks, and house if I owe a restitution?

Fremont, CA |

I owe a balance of Fed restitution. They sold my community property to pay of f part of it. Then I filed divorced. Since I have no income, the govt haven't asked me to make any payment since then (4 years). Two weeks ago I got married in Reno. Yesterday I received a letter from US govt to ask me to fill out the current financial statement forms. I live in CA but got married in Nevada. Does the recent marriage trigger them to ask for my financial status? We have no joint bank acct or joint name property but my husband has a house, 401k, and monthly salary. Can the gov't take any of his asset to pay my restitution? I don't want to fight with the govt. Does a prenuptial agreement regarding the separate asset and debt will help? Please help?

Many Thanks,

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

Yes, Lisa, the recent marriage apparently triggered the government to ask for you new financial status. But that does not necessarily mean they have any additional inroads to any new assets.

Is the government entitled to take any of his assets to pay your restitution? No, at least, not so long as they are not be very careful with that aspect of your situation.

Will your prenuptial agreement be of any help? If it is, it would only help minimally.

Finally, Attorney Karman's advice is right on point. Advise your new husband of the situation and then get an appointment with an estate planning attorney who can assist you in structuring your assets in such a way that property that your new husband brought into the marriage cannot be seized.

Once that is completed, then, and only then, should you fill out the government's financial


Yes, a prenuptial agreement would help but it won't cover everything because regardless of how you title a property the government can re-characterize it. What you need to do is tell your new husband if you haven't already and then go see an estate planning attorney who can structure your assets so that property belonging equitably to your husband cannot be seized. Then fill out the financial declaration.

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