Everything You Need to Know About Child Support Arrearage

Silhouette of a father with son after a divorce

The long-term ripple effects of divorce and child custody disputes last long after the divorce proceeding itself, particularly when it comes to your children. Your ex-spouse is constantly contacting you about your child support payments. You may have even received communication from their lawyer about the same. Your ex partner’s legal team have mentioned three words in particular that can be hard to understand at a glance: child support arrearage. What is child support arrearage? What are your rights and options if the other parent in your case claims that you are past due on your child support payments?

Let’s review child support arrearage, including possible child support arrears forgiveness and what to do if you owe child support payments in California.

Understanding Arrearage

Child support arrearage means child support payments that are overdue, or child support debt. The law in California imposes major penalties on individuals who are ordered to make child support payments but fail to do so. That’s because according to the law, parents must assume responsibility for their child’s financial needs, whether they are divorced or married.

At the same time, it is not uncommon for people who are ordered to make child support payments to become victims of injustice under the state’s child support arrearage laws. For this reason, it is paramount that you seek the help of an attorney who can help you understand what child support arrearage is and help you through the process. An attorney in California will take the necessary steps to make sure that the child support amount you are required to pay is both accurate and fair. At the same time, your attorney will help ensure your children receive an appropriate amount of monetary support.

What Happens If You Skip Paying Child Support?

If you are facing child support arrearage, you may face multiple legal consequences. For instance, the government could intercept up to half of your earnings to satisfy your child support obligation. These wages include those from unemployment insurance, Social Security, tax refunds, disability, and workers’ compensation.

In addition, you could face a misdemeanor criminal charge in California for willfully neglecting to make child support payments. The consequences for this may range from a fine to time behind bars.

Additional Consequences for Missing Child Support Payments

Other consequences that accompany child support arrearage in California include having your driving license revoked. Furthermore, you can expect to pay an interest amount totaling 10% of your child support arrearage per year. You could also be assessed a penalty of between 6% and 72% on your delinquent amount if you happen to be 30 days or more late.

In addition, if you have professional licenses in California, these could end up being suspended while you are behind on your child support payments. You might also have trouble with renewing your passport, and your credit rating may take a hit as well. Furthermore, a lien may be placed against your property if you own it.

Child Support Arrears Forgiveness

The good news is that you may be able to take advantage of California’s child support arrears forgiveness depending on your situation. You cannot have your backlog of support reduced retroactively, but the court could excuse it if your children were actually residing with you at the time when your support debt was accumulating. This principle is known as equitable forgiveness.

In addition, if you currently owe support to your county, you could submit an application to have the debt decreased by as much as 90%. You could also try to negotiate a child support debt settlement with your ex-spouse for less than what you owe, with you making a lump-sum payment. To do this, you and the other party will need to sign an agreement to do this, and the court must approve the agreement.

Note that the court may also modify your current obligation for support if you can demonstrate that this obligation does not fit your current circumstances.

Other Important Considerations Regarding Child Support Payments

When it comes to paying child support, you should plan to make these payments until your children reach 18 years old. You can quit before then only if your child is considered to be emancipated or if the parental rights you currently have end up being terminated completely.

Also, you cannot avoid fulfilling your support obligations by filing for bankruptcy. That’s because bankruptcy won’t eliminate your requirement to make child support payments. Likewise, if you are still behind on your payments when your child reaches 18, your obligation won’t be terminated until you have made all of your required payments.

Receive Help with Your Child Support Issue from an Attorney Today

If you’re dealing with child support arrearage, you may understandably feel worried about how this will impact your financial future. Fortunately, I, family law attorney Michael C. MacNeil, canhelp. I can explain to you in detail what child support arrearage is and go over your options related to child support arrears forgiveness.

I take pride in personalizing and customizing each of my clients’ cases, as I am the only one who handles the case details. You don’t ever have to worry about going through a secretary or paralegal to get to me; you can easily contact me for help with your family law matter.

Get in touch with me today to take advantage of a free consultation concerning your child support arrearage issue. I will make sure that your rights and best interests are protected from start to finish.

About Michael MacNeil

Michael C. MacNeil is a San Diego Family Law and Criminal Defense attorney. With a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, MacNeil has a solid understanding of our justice system. As a member of the State Bar of California, MacNeal can practice before all courts in the state. MacNeil believes that the law should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. With over 20 years of experience, Michael C. MacNeil is passionate about the law and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you. Call Mr. MacNeil at 858-922-7098.