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My daughter married this summer. Her new husband has a child from a former relationship and was taken to court over back child support (there was never a previous order, as he lived with the mother of the child for several years. They split before he got together with my daughter). My daughter has a child of her own, and has had steady employment for several years with the same company. The job pays in the low 20s and she usually gets an earned income credit when she files her taxes. Her new husband works in construction and doesn't work steadily. Here's my question:

I have no doubt that when my new son in law files his taxes at the end of the year, if he gets anything back the state will take that money to apply to the child support arrearage. He is currently paying child support, the arrearage came from his ex claiming support back to the date of the childs birth. The fact that they shared a residence up until a year ago had no bearing on the amount they determined he was in arrears. He has no problem with the idea that the money will go towards these arrearages.

My concern is that if they file married/jointly, any money my daughter might have coming to her will get sent to his ex. Can they avoid this by filing married, filing seperately?

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