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Can I use retirement money to pay child support?

When a couple in Florida makes the difficult choice to get divorced, many new financial challenges may develop. Living alone is generally more expensive than sharing living costs with your former spouse. Regardless of whether both of you worked or only one of you worked, now two households must be maintained on an income that previously only had to support one household. When you have minor children are you are ordered to pay child support on top of everything else, you may wonder how in the world you can make ends meet.

As explained by the U.S. Department of Labor, you may be able to tap into your 401(k) account to help you pay court-ordered child support. You may, in fact, also be able to use these funds to satisfy spousal support awards or property division settlements.

Because retirement accounts are created in one person's name only, that is the only person to whom payments can be made. However, through the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, you can set up another person to be approved to receive payments from your retirement account for approved domestic purposes. The QDRO should detail out exactly how much money is to be paid, on what date or dates and in how many installments. Your plan administrator will be involved in approving the QDRO as well as the courts.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but rather to give people in Florida an overview of how they may be able to use 401(k) assets to satisfy child support or alimony orders or divorce property division settlements.

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Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A.
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