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Important Points to Note About Paying Child Support in Arrears

There are situations where a non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support to the custodial parent. When this happens, the custodial parent is privileged to take legal action. Federal and state laws permit the custodial parent to force the delinquent parent to pay child support.

This article will look at what paying child support in arrears means. It will also look at how far back a court can order a non-custodial parent to pay for child support and other related issues.

What is Child Support Arrears?

Child support arrears are when a non-custodial parent owes child support payments to the custodial parent. This usually happens when a non-custodial parent moves away or decides not to pay.

There are two types of child support arrears: assigned and unassigned arrears. In assigned arrears, unpaid child support payments would be paid to the state. This is usually because the custodial parent might have gotten public assistance for child support, so they must compensate the government later.

On the other hand, unassigned arrears are not paid to the government. Instead, they are paid directly to the custodial parent. This happened when the custodial parent did not receive financial aid from the government.

Important Issues Related to Child Support Arrears

This section will consider some important issues related to child support arrears. This includes questions about the length of time, delinquent accounts, and legal support.

● Length of Time for Payment

When child support is past due or in arrears, the court may consider the length of time up to (including) the child’s date of birth. It is advisable to petition the courts for a child support order. This will help ensure that any money not given credit is not a gift but a part of the couple’s financial support for the child.

When the other party contacts the court regarding the back pay, current financial assistance may receive credit, and some of the money needed for accounts in arrears will be subtracted.

● Delinquent Accounts

The account for child support will go into arrears if the non-custodial parent does not give their ex-spouse the necessary financial support. This will subsequently accumulate to the point that the parent may face contempt of court charges or other penalties. The debt will continue to grow until it is paid off using the appropriate channels outlined in the court order.

When fines and other fees are added, the person must make the difference, pay more, or increase their payment. Depending on the payment level, it might take longer or require more funding initially.

A state may impose additional penalties as part of the contempt of court orders for child support. This could subject the parent to public humiliation, jail time, paying fines, or enrolling in programs to understand and know what to expect from their actions.

● Legal Support for arrears payments

Sometimes, the custodial parent who pays child support will be able to hire a lawyer for the case. According to the Child Support Enforcement Act, state attorneys have the authority to recoup past payments due for child support. Other agencies may issue penalties and even take the non-custodial parent to court.


“Child support is legally expected for spouses to pay regardless of a separation or divorce,” says divorce lawyer Matt Towson of Towson Law Firm. If one parent refuses to pay, this leads to child support arrears. This article has detailed what child support arrears mean and other things you should know about the legal process.

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