Recently, the child support agency has notified me of my outstanding balance for past child support obligations, even though my children are in their 40s now.
Since I am now retired, can the state intercept and garnish my social security payments for purposes of paying off my child support arrears?
Since I am only licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, I can only provide you with general divorce help for men to your divorce question.
An individual who incurs a child support or maintenance debt will remain responsible for that debt until it is satisfied in full. State governments, via their child support enforcement offices, possess the same remedies as any creditor to collect on an outstanding debt.
Generally, under Section 207 of the Social Security Act, social security benefits are exempt from attachment, levy, execution or garnishment. There are, however, two exceptions.
The Secretary of the Treasury may seize benefits to satisfy an outstanding tax obligation and either a state agency or an individual claimant may garnish benefits to satisfy an outstanding child support or maintenance obligation. See 42 U.S.C. § 659 and Social Security Ruling 79-4.
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Where I practice, there is a 20-year statute of limitations on child support arrearage collection that begins as soon as the child turns 18. This period may be tolled if the state attempts to collect on the arrearage.
If your state has not gone after you for collection in the past, and your children are over the age of 38, the state may be precluded from garnishing your social security benefits to pay child support.
Please keep in mind that I am unable to provide you with specific advice on divorce. If you would like more advice on divorce concerning child support laws, contact a mens divorce attorney near you.
Cordell & Cordell has men's divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Daniel Exner, a Staff Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.