Certain circumstances cause a parent to fall behind on their child support payment obligations. Depending on the situation, catching up can seem impossible. Past due child support is referred to as child support arrears. Depending on your state, there can be consequences for delinquent child support. Back child support can result in interest charges, liens, license suspension or even jail time. If the back child support you owe is too much to pay, negotiate before action is taken.
Discuss back child support with the custodial parent before the child support hearing. If you and the custodial parent can reach an agreement regarding back child support, note the agreement in the child support petition. In many states, the custodial parent can decide whether or not she wants to recover back child support payments at the time of the hearing. Even after the orders are finalized, she may voluntarily reduce portions of the back child support if they were unfairly accrued. The request must be submitted to the court and approved.
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File a motion to Re-Determine Back Child Support. If you feel there was an error in the amount you owe or if you did not receive credit for payments, file a motion with your local court. You must provide proof of the error such as payment receipts.
File a petition for Equitable Forgiveness. The court does not modify retroactive child support unless there was an error. If the child lived with you while the child support was accumulating, part of the balance may be forgiven.
File a petition to Set Reasonable Payment Schedule. If you cannot modify the back child support, request the court to set-up a payment schedule. You will be able to pay the child support you owe, while avoiding enforcement action.
- Lawyers.com: Use of Child Support Payments
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services: Division of Child Support
- Michigan Department of Human Services: Past Due Support Payment/Forgiveness Plan
- Child Support California: Back Child Support Problems
- Proactive Change: Child Support and Limitations on Private Agreements