Can I Garnish my Ex-Spouse’s Pension?

It can often be quite tricky trying to get the support you are owed by an ex spouse. Kenneth A. White of Shane and White, LLC recently was interviewed by and was asked this very question. The answer? Courts in New Jersey have specifically found that pensions may be garnished to secure the payment of child support. Mr. White cites Ward v. Ward, Biles v. Biles and Slayton v. Slayton as examples of case law that state that this is possible. However, Mr. White states that in reality, it might be a bit trickier. “There is no justification or legal authority for this,” he said, but “despite no justification or legal authority, multiple former judicial law clerks have shared with me their experience of having worked for judges who hesitated, if not initially denied a request to garnish retirement benefits.” The bottom line, however, according to Kenneth A. White is that you can garnish pension benefits to secure the payment of outstanding child support. To do this, Mr. White said that you may secure an order form the family court directing the plan administrator to forward your ex’s pension benefits to the probation department or to you to satisfy your ex’s past due child support.

To complete this process, Mr. White states that first, you should secure an order granting you a judgment for a specific sum due to back child support, and then you will need to secure a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) specifically authorizing the pension plan’s administrator to release funds from the pension directly to the probation department or to you.

It is important to protect yourself and address these unusual areas of family law, by utilizing the services of a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney who will be able to guide you through what would ordinarily be a complicated process. Here at Shane and White we are committed to your matrimonial and family law needs. Please contact our office at 732-819-9100 to set up a consultation today.

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