Back Child Support and Arrears
To be in arrears when it comes to child support means that the parent that was ordered to pay child support owes the other parent back child support pay. If the parent owed child support has been getting help from the state, like food stamps or WIC, the parent who owes the arrears will owe them to the state as compensation for the help the state provided. There are serious ramifications for owing back child support, some more commonly known than others. Parents who have been awarded child support are urged to register their order with the state. That way, the state can step in and begin enforcement methods when the parent ordered to pay has failed to do so.
Once child support is more than 30 days late, the state can begin efforts to collect the past due amount. One common method of motivating a delinquent parent to pay his obligation is by suspending his driver’s, hunting or fishing license. Maybe more seriously, the state can suspend the parent’s professional license (for example, physician, nursing, pharmacist and real estate). The state may also place a lien on that parent’s car or any other property, real or personal (for example, the parent’s house, land or boat). That way, the parent is unable to sell that property or borrow against it.
If the parent is owed money by the state, the state will keep that money as payment for the back child support up to the amount the parent owes (for example, lottery winnings, federal tax returns and unemployment pay). In some cases, the state can deduct money from the parent’s bank accounts. Finally, the court can find the delinquent parent in contempt and order him to pay a large amount of money or sentence him to jail. Arrest warrants are always being issued for parents who owe back support, sometimes without their knowledge.
If you cannot pay your child support, do not sit by and do nothing. There are many different options to either modify the support you owe or negotiate a lower payment for your arrearage amount. A family attorney can help you exercise the right option for your circumstance.