Can my ex attack my 401k for arrears of alimony?

UPDATED: Jun 22, 2012

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Can my ex attack my 401k for arrears of alimony?

I had to quit because I would lose $87,000 from my pension. Now I have been trying to get a new job but my ex says she won’t wait for me to get employed and will attack my 401k for arrears of the alimony.

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In short, yes.  Under CA Family Code Section 5100 et seq.  the payee can get a writ of execution against your property and have the sheriff collect it for them.  Section 5103 goes on to specifically include employee benefit plans such as 401k plans. 

There are some limits to writs of executions against one's primary residence and depending on the account or property levied, sometimes the law requires that the levying party leave you with a certain amount left over.  When levying vehicles, the law requires the levied party to be left with an exempt amount, usually $2,725 unless it is a commercial vehicle.

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