Exempt & non-exempt assets: Do you know the difference?
Too often, the non-custodial parent simply doesn’t pay, and when you turn to CSE, they make you wait months or years only to find out they aren’t going to do anything. It’s entirely unacceptable when there are so many ways to collect arrears. It doesn’t even have to be your ex’s money or income; you can also seize his assets and have them sold to pay the debt he owes you. Taking his extra cars is a small price to pay for providing for his children, like a good parent should, isn’t it? The tricky part can be knowing what you can seize to repay arrears and what exempt & non-exempt assets look like. We’ve compiled a shortlist to show what assets are yours to sell and what you can’t touch, usually.
What does exempt mean in arrears collection?
Certain types of income and property are excluded from debt collection under state and federal law. A judgement creditor cannot compel a debtor to pay with exempt income or property. When determining what you can and cannot seize from your ex to pay for arrears, the general rule of thumb is that you cannot take away the basics for him to live. The things you cannot touch include:
- Home furnishings
- Tools for their trade
- Social security
There is however a luxury threshold – that many of these are only exempt up to a certain dollar amount. Essential goods are protected, but if they are extravagant, they aren’t. If your ex owns a Honda Civic, it’ll be protected. The same can’t be said if his car is a Lamborghini.
Now, these assets aren’t entirely safe. Liens can help you use these assets to pressure your ex to pay the arrears. A lien gives you control of the asset, such as their home, so they cannot sell it without paying you for what they own in support. Liens are effective if he’s looking to sell his home soon and it could make it a little harder for him to get a loan if the lien appears on his credit file.
You cannot simply seize his home, but you can push to foreclose it. That usually gets his attention. And, somehow, it makes the money he owes you magically appear. Once you apply a little heat, the money mysteriously starts floating to the surface.
If he owes you, these items are up for grabs. It’s that simple.
- Cash and money in the bank
- Stocks and bonds
- Valuable collections
- Stamps, baseball cards, sneakers
- Musical instruments
- Additional homes
- Additional vehicles
Executing the liens on these types of items will need to be done through your local sheriff. They will need you to be very specific in order to seize and sell these items. You’ll be expected to provide information like, where they are, what they look like, size, how many (if it’s a collection), and the value. I know, it’s a lot. Just collecting all this information can be a monumental task, but there are ways to find this information without breaking into your ex’s home to take pictures and notes.
If your ex doesn’t want to pay, it’s not fine. But then he certainly doesn’t need his cottage as much as his children need school supplies and new shoes for basketball practice. Knowing what you can seize from him to collect your arrears can help you give your children the life they deserve to have.