Child Support Arrearages – are they here to stay?

Child support arrearages are support obligations that were not previously paid on time pursuant to a court order.  Arrearages do not terminate once the original support obligation is over, usually when the child is eighteen (18).  An arrearage will follow the obligor, and he/she will still be required to make payments on same.  Arrearages can build up quickly and can take months or years to eliminate.  The support you pay continues to go to the person you owed the payments to or the State, depending on whether the obligee was on government aid to meet his/her needs.  Unfortunately for the obligor, child support arrearages cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

When you are in arrears on support, the state may take a number of steps to force you to pay your arrearage, including garnishing your wages and taking your tax refund to apply to your arrearage.

The best way to determine how to eliminate your arrearage is to first check with the child support division in your county to determine the amount of the arrearage still owed.  It is usually recommended to do your own math on the child support arrearage to determine if any errors were made in the figures by the State.  If the amount owed is incorrect from some reason, such as you were held liable for support after your child was declared emancipated by the court or you were held liable for support in an amount different from the court-ordered amount, you may petition the court to fix your child support obligation.

If the amount you owe is correct, then you may be obligated to pay that amount in full.  The state’s attorneys who handle child support arrearage matters are usually willing to cut the obligor a deal, but if you get so lucky, you can never fall behind again, or the deal will be off the table, so to speak, and you will have to pay the full amount due and owing.


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