Can you Collect Child Support From Jointly Owned Accounts?

mom_and_daughter_joint_accounts

What if the NCP’s assets are jointly owned or owned by his spouse?

Life goes on after you and your ex split. Your children continue to grow and learn, you continue to take care of them, and your ex continues to live his life. Sometimes, that means a new girlfriend or wife. And as we’ve all learned, a new partner means that, if anything, he’s going to up his efforts to hold onto his money. Can you collect child support from jointly owned accounts? Even if he made some payments before, sometimes his focus is on her now, and their new life, not his children with you. Yet another example of how the phrase “the children come first” becomes completely obsolete in practice.

Couples tend to share things. Evaders like to hide things. Sometimes the two aren’t completely independent of each other. If he is devious, he may start sharing assets like cars, homes, and bank accounts. He might think that because something is in her name too, you can’t touch it. Well, he’d be wrong. Collecting from joint assets is more challenging, but if it’s his, and he owes you support, it’s yours for the taking.

Joint Accounts

Just because someone else’s name is on the account, doesn’t mean it can’t be collected from. Actually, there’s no difference between collecting between a joint account and a single-owner bank account. If his name is on the account, and he owes you back child support, you have every right to garnish money from the account.

Now, after you garnish the money your ex’s new spouse can try to contest the garnishment to claim their part of the money back. However, that process will be long and frustrating for them. They’ll need to prove what part of the money is theirs, and that portion should be returned to them. The rest, anything that belongs to him, is yours to keep.

Joint Assets

Like joint accounts, if your ex and their new partner, or parent, or whoever, both have their names on a home, you can still place a lien on the house to collect child support. There’s no wiggling out of it, if he owes a debt she has to shoulder the burden of the lien too until it’s paid off. And so he makes her life more complicated too.

I Think He’s Hiding Assets Under Her Name

Yes, some obligors will take their names off assets so they don’t officially own them, but you know better. It’s theirs. They just want it to look like it isn’t. This is illegal, but that’s hardly the point here. The point is that you can still collect arrears from assets that definitely belong to your ex, but are under someone else’s name.

It’s not uncommon for an obligor to hide his assets with someone close to him. If his spouse has his car under her name, you can subpoena her and her ownership documents to show that it’s his car, it’s just in her name.

Yes, joint assets complicate collecting your arrears. It reduces how much you can garnish, but just because someone else’s name is on the account, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue collecting it and hold your ex responsible. 

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Athena Collects
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