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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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Can my soon to be immigrant ex-wife file to garnish my Social

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Can my soon to be immigrant ex-wife file to garnish my Social Security Disability benefits for alimony in the state of New Mexico if she is not disable at all & is very capable of seeking employment ? We have only been married since January 31, 2012. She holds 2 Masters Degrees in Education, 1 from China & 1 from here in the U.S.A. ? I'm 100 % Disable Army Veteran, & I receive also Social Security Disability,& I cannot work at all !

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation Tony. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. I guess the bigger question is how does she think that she will be awarded alimony. Does she not have a green card or the ability to work in the US?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes she has a Green Card as of February of this year ! Also she has never worked being she has depended on my income only. She received Educational Benefits through the Veterans Administration being I'm a 100 % Disabled Army Veteran.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good morning Sir,

I also need to know if there are any Laws to protect me from her getting my Social Security Disability, & if so can you please write to me with the Law(s) for here in N.M. ?

Good morning Antonio,

First of all, thank you for your service to our country!

Because you wife can work, and because you are disabled and receive a limited income and because your marriage is so extremely short in duration, this would not be a case where one would expect a judge to ever award alimony to your wife.

Your wife can legally work and the court will require that she do so in the event of a divorce. She may not just sit on her keester and expect her ex-husband to support her. The court will impute income to her---meaning that in the very unlikely event that the judge thinks she should have support, they will also estimate what she could earn if she wanted to work and base a support award on the difference in your incomes. But in a 1 year marriage it is just so incredible unusual for a judge to order spousal support, unless you foolishly just agree with your wife to pay her support---I don’t see a judge ordering it.

But, in answer to your question, an ex-spouse may have social security benefits garnished for unpaid arrears of alimony once they go to court, get a judgment and then petition for a wage withholding order. This is a complicated collection process and it is unlikely that your soon-to-be ex could do it herself and she would pay thousands to an attorney to handle it. This alone makes it unlikely.

There is just no way that a judge should order alimony to her in this matter. If you fear that, than I suggest that you have an attorney represent you at any hearing on the matter---because it would be entirely inequitable to award her any support when she is capable of work, and you are not.

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,


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I would like to know if there are any laws in the state of New Mexico to protect my social security disability from my soon to be ex wife? If so can you please tell me what law there maybe so I can pass it to my attorney?

Good morning Antonio,

There are no laws in NM, or any other state for that matter, which can protect social security from being garnished for arrears of support. Because social security is a federal benefit the federal laws apply when it comes to garnishment. I'm sorry.

The court may not award part of your social security benefit to your soon-to-be ex as it might other marital property---so you don;t have to be worried about that.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you !

My pleasure. Have a great day, Anotnio.