If my ex takes my tax refund, can I withhold child support until reimbursed?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my ex takes my tax refund, can I withhold child support until reimbursed?

According to our divorce decree, last year was the year I could claim our child on my taxes. When I finished my taxes and tried to file, I was told the child was already claimed on another tax return. I found out that my ex put our child on her taxes. After re-doing the filing, this will cost me $790 in refund. It also puts me negative so I owe the IRS. If we both agree to this, can I withhold from my child support payments 790 to reimburse me?

Asked on March 22, 2017 under Family Law, Utah


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot withhold your child support payment. The fact is that such a payment is court ordered and has nothing to do with your tax returns. If you fail to pay has required, you can be held in contempt of court and be subject to fines and possible jaitime. That having been said, this doesn't mean what your wife did was right. If the situation is as you described you can pursue action against her for the money that you are out due to her breaching the terms of your divorce decree.

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