Recovering back child support from a federal TSP account

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Family Law And Divorce

If someone with a federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account owes you back child support, it is possible to claim what they owe you. The Thrift Board has determined that a person’s TSP can be subject to a child support order, specifically for paying a child support arrearage. It is important to note that this does not apply to ongoing support payments but to the outstanding amount owed.

What is a federal thrift savings plan (TSP) account?

The federal TSP is a retirement savings plan for federal employees and uniformed service members. It works similarly to a 401(k) plan and offers low fees, various investment options, and employer-matching contributions. Participants can contribute a part of their salary on a pretax or after-tax basis, and funds grow tax-deferred until retirement. At retirement, individuals have flexibility in accessing their TSP funds. Governed by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the TSP aims to supply a secure and cost-effective means of saving for retirement for federal employees.

The legal process

You need a specific child support order to recover back child support from a federal thrift savings plan (TSP) account. Certain conditions must be met. Firstly, a competent authority must issue the legal process. It must directly pertain to the TSP account of a participant. It must also state a fixed payment amount. If necessary, you may request an account freeze to prevent liquidation.

On the other hand, not qualifying processes include those related to:

  • Closed accounts
  • Accounts with only nonvested funds
  • Return of previously paid money
  • Future payments
  • A series of payments

Additionally, the legal process cannot designate specific funds or sources for the payment.

Seek legal advice to understand the process. The FEDweek website discusses federal employee benefits, including child support issues. By following these steps and obtaining legal guidance, you can work toward recovering the owed child support from a TSP account.