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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 35720
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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I am a 67 year old employed (not retired) university professor.

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I am a 67 year old employed (not retired) university professor. I anticipate a divorce court ordering
me to pay for debts incurred by my wife for which I am not responsible. My question is this. If I elect to go to prison in protest, is there any way my wife could have access to my social security retirement benefits. She is fully employed at age 49

Good afternoon Philip,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

While you won’t go to prison for contempt of court for failure to pay your wife's debts ordered by a court in your divorce, if the court doe order any spousal support, and you don't pay that, your ex would be able to have your social security benefits garnished for the arrears of support.

But she will not get a garnishment based on your failure to pay the community property debt---even if she ends up having to pay it.

And because you mentioned it, all social security benefits automatically are suspended any time a beneficiary is incarcerated for more than 30 days---so a person in prison is not entitled to a social security benefit.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Doug

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