Tax refund can be taken for child support

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dear Lawyer Mark: I am having a problem in getting my ex-husband to pay child support.

You see, we divorced last summer and the judge gave me custody of our daughters.

The judge also ordered my ex to pay weekly child support to me. A friend of mine told me that the Child Support Enforcement Agency could take his tax refund to pay for the past due child support. Is that true?

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— Down and Out in Burlington

Dear Down and Out:

Yes, the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) may intercept a person’s income tax refunds if that person has failed to pay child support pursuant to court order.

If your ex-husband was ordered to pay child support by the court and he has failed to do so, the CSEA may take his income tax refund. They may only take this refund in order to satisfy past-due support; they may not use it to satisfy future child support obligations.

I would recommend that you speak with somebody at the agency who may further assist you in this matter.

Dear Lawyer Mark: My husband and I just moved to Ohio from West Virginia in November.

Things haven’t been going so well for a while now and I’m thinking about getting a divorce.

I don’t know much about how to go about doing this, so I would appreciate any information you could give me that would get it started.

— Heart-Broken in Proctorville

Dear Heart-Broken:

First of all, you should be aware that you have to return to West Virginia to file for divorce if you want to file immediately.

To obtain a divorce in Ohio, you must live in the state for 6-months immediately preceding the filing of your divorce complaint.

If you have not lived in Ohio for 6-months, Ohio courts have no jurisdiction to grant you a divorce.

I would recommend that you speak with an attorney who is licensed in West Virginia, since that is where you will more likely have to bring the action, or you can wait the full 6-months and file in Ohio.

It’s The Law is written by attorney Mark K. McCown in response to legal questions received by him. If you have a question, please forward it to Mark K. McCown, 311 Park Ave., Ironton, Ohio 45638, or e-mail it to him at The right to condense and/or edit all questions is reserved.