If you owe child support arrears, paying them off can be a significant financial and emotional relief. But what steps do you need to take to ensure that you’re in compliance with the law?
When child support arrears are paid in full, the non-custodial parent is no longer in debt to the custodial parent or the state agency responsible for collecting child support.
In this article, we’ll explore what happens when child support arrears are paid in full and what steps you need to take to ensure that you’re in compliance with the law.
How to Pay Off Child Support Arrears
There are several ways to pay off child support arrears, including:
- Lump Sum Payment: A lump sum payment is a one-time payment that covers the entire amount of child support arrears owed. This option is often the most desirable, allowing parents to clear their debt in one fell swoop.
- Payment Plan: A payment plan is an agreement between the parent who owes child support and the state’s child support agency. The parent agrees to make regular payments until the arrears are paid off.
- Wage Garnishment: Wage garnishment is a court order that requires an employer to deduct a certain amount of money from the employee’s paycheck and send it directly to the child support agency.
- Seizure of Tax Refunds: The child support agency can seize a parent’s tax refund and apply it to their child support arrears.
How To Confirm That Child Support Arrears Have Been Paid in Full
If you are a parent who has paid off child support arrears, you will want to confirm that the payments have been properly applied and that your account is up to date.
Tim’s Legal Tip: Confirming that your child support arrears have been paid in full is essential to avoid any legal repercussions.
Here are the steps you can take to ensure that your child support account is accurate and up to date:
- Check your child support account online: Many states now offer online portals that allow you to access your child support account and view your payment history. You can use this portal to confirm that your arrears have been paid in full.
- Contact your local child support agency: If you need help checking your child support account online or have any questions about your account status, you can contact your local child support agency. They can provide information about your account and help you confirm that your arrears have been paid in full.
- Request a statement: If you prefer a physical copy of your child support account statement, you can request one from your local child support agency. This statement will show your payment history and any outstanding arrears that have been paid.
What Happens to Child Support Arrears When They Are Paid in Full?
When you have paid off your child support arrears, several things will happen:
- Your account will be marked as “paid in full”: Once your arrears have been paid, your child support account will be updated to reflect that the arrears have been paid in full.
- Legal actions will stop: If you were facing legal actions for failing to pay child support, such as wage garnishments or liens on your property, these actions will stop once your arrears are paid in full.
- Your credit report should be updated: If your child support arrears were reported to the credit bureaus, your credit report may be updated to reflect that your arrears have been paid in full.
It is important to note that paying off your child support arrears does not absolve you of any interest or penalties that have accrued on the arrears.
The Effects of Paying Off Child Support Arrears
Paying off child support arrears is a positive step in the right direction for anyone who owes them. It can have a significant positive impact on one’s credit score and can help avoid collection actions and legal consequences.
By paying off child support arrears, you can also open the door to modifications to child support agreements that may have been difficult to pursue while still in arrears.
What to Do After Paying off Child Support Arrears
After you’ve paid off your child support arrears, staying current on your child support payments moving forward is essential. Failure to make timely payments can result in additional penalties and interest charges.
If you’re struggling to make your child support payments, contact your state’s child support agency as soon as possible. They can work with you to set up a payment plan or modify your support order to reflect your current financial situation.
How to Modify Child Support After Arrears are Paid in Full
Paying off child support arrears can open the door to modifications of child support agreements that may have been difficult to pursue while still in arrears.
To modify child support, you will need to file a petition with the court explaining why a modification is necessary.
Modifications can be based on changes in income, parenting time, or other factors that impact the amount of child support owed.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Can I Negotiate the Amount of Child Support Arrears I Owe?
Yes, it may be possible to negotiate the amount of child support arrears owed, but it’s essential to do so through the court or state agency responsible for collecting child support.
Q. Can I Go to Jail for Unpaid Child Support Arrears?
Failure to pay child support can result in jail time in some states. However, jail time is typically a last resort and is only used when other options for payment have been exhausted.
Q. Can child support arrears be negotiated?
Negotiating child support arrears with the state’s child support agency is possible. However, this can be a challenging process, and it is best to work with an experienced attorney to protect your rights.
Q. Can Child Support Arrears Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?
No. Child support obligations are considered priority debts and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. This means that even if a parent files for bankruptcy, they will still be required to pay any outstanding child support arrears.
Q. How long can child support arrears stay on your credit report?
Child support arrears can stay on your credit report for up to seven years from the date the payment was due.
Q. What happens if you overpay child support arrears?
If a parent overpays their child support arrears, the excess amount will be applied to their ongoing child support obligation. If the parent is current on their ongoing payments, the excess amount may be refunded to them.
Paying off child support arrears in full can be a significant financial and emotional relief. Once you’ve paid off your arrears, the child support agency will update your account, and you’ll no longer be in arrears.