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IRA garnishments could recover back child support debts

IRA garnishments could recover back child support debts

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | Child Support |

An individual retirement account (IRA) could provide a decent nest egg for someone’s older years. Early withdrawals of IRA money would diminish the account holder’s savings, and many responsible investors avoid prematurely depleting their funds. Someone who runs into financial troubles might fall behind their debts and obligations, including child support. Some California residents may worry that falling behind on child support could result in an IRA garnishment.

Child support arrears and IRA account savings

In short, it is possible to garnish money from an IRA account to pay back child support. IRA accounts are not 401(k)s or pensions, so they do not have any Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protections. However, state law varies.

In California, garnishing an IRA is a viable option to recover child support obligations, but some IRA money could be exempt. Some IRA funds may become exempt if the parent relies on the IRA funds to cover essential expenses for themselves or a dependent.

Anyone hoping to preserve retirement account savings when owing child support would need to prove financial need. Expect to show the court precise figures about rent, food, clothing, medical bills, and other necessary expenses. Otherwise, claims of needing the retirement funds won’t likely carry much weight.

Child support and financial hardships

Anyone unable to pay child support obligations might benefit from filing a modification request. The courts would require proof of financial hardship before making any changes. So, persons dealing with a job loss or decreased income must present evidence.

Not paying child support and hoping to “catch up” later could prove disastrous. Wage garnishments are possible for those still working. Parents have faced arrest and confinement for not paying support. Taking a more responsible approach could be the best plan for struggling with their bills.