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I am sorry to hear about your situation. The information you were given about a 401k being unavailable to satisfy a judgment creditor is correct and this is true of any type of retirement or pension fund. Therefore, there is no reason to incur the tax penalties and give the plaintiff's Attorney half of your wife's 401k, if he could not touch it in any event. Therefore, I would leave your wife's 401k intact.
A Court does not force a party into bankruptcy, or garnish a defendant's wages. It is totally up to the Plaintiff/ judgment creditor to ask the Court to issue a Writ of Garnishment in order for the plaintiff to be able to garnish your wife's wages. However, if that becomes too overbearing, your wife could consult with a Bankruptcy Attorney about filing a Petition under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code and if your wife's Petition is granted, the plaintiff's judgment will be discharged in bankruptcy and the plaintiff will be able to get only what your insurance carrier is offering as the limits of your policy.
As for why the attorney you retained to represent you on the excess portion not covered by your automobile policy is not being responsive, I cannot say because I do not know what he is thinking. I would suggest that you contact him by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, informing him of the July 26, 2013 date and send a copy of your letter by regular mail. Ask your insurance Attorney if he can get in touch with the Attorney and find out what his situation is since he should be present at the status conference because many times the Judges will apply pressure to the parties to come to some type of settlement in order to remove cases from the Court's already cluttered trial calendar,
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