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Waivers for Child Support Arrearages

Thursday, April 06, 2017
Waivers for Child Support Arrearages

Child support is generally made by non-custodial parents to custodial parents for maintenance of minor children. Due to a variety of reasons, including lack of stable employment, a man or woman might fail to pay all or some of the support. The amount of money owed for back child support is called arrears. In most cases, it is extremely difficult to gain a waiver for all or part of child support arrears but it does sometimes occur.

Waivers for arrears can happen when the parent receiving support agrees to it and court of law approves. Typically, the court conducts an investigation to determine if this dismissal of all or part of arrearages would negatively impact the child. The court might be more likely to approve if the offspring has reached the age of majority (usually 18), become emancipated or married.

Sometimes mistakes occur concerning the amount of back child support owed. This includes mathematical miscalculations. Also, a court could determine an error occurred due to a special instance. For example, if the child lived with the parent paying support for some time, a judge could decide support was not warranted for that time period.

There are some cases in which arrears are owed to the state rather than the primary custody holder. This is usually when the child's custodial parent received funds from government benefits, also known as welfare, to help support the minor. In particular locales, if the state is owed support, a court might agree to a reduction in arrears. Often a settlement requires the debtor to pay a lump sum. The amount required varies but is often around 20% to 30% of the total.

In California, the Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP) offers qualified noncustodial parents an opportunity to reduce arrears. Eligibility depends on a person's wages, other forms of income and assets. If the parent gains approval, the program creates of repayment plan for the remaining support. The COAP does not eliminate entire arearages, cannot alter current support payments or impact arrears owed to a custodial parent.

The key to all child support matters is determining what is in the child's best interest. Courts have the final say. To learn more about child support issues and resolutions, please contact us.


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