What Are the Basic Facts of Child Support Arrears?


Quick Answer

Child support arrears indicate that a person ordered to pay child support has an overdue amount and in violation of the court order, according to FindLaw. The payer often has the option to request reductions of child support amounts, but ultimately, is still responsible for any arrearages.

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Full Answer

When a parent has not paid child support in accordance with a court order, the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 enables the courts to collect and even impose jail time, reports FindLaw. State child support agencies can attempt to collect arrearages by garnishing wages, seizing property and withholding federal tax refunds. In addition, the courts can also suspend the delinquent payer's driver's license, occupational license used for employment such as teaching or law enforcement, or a business license.

In extreme cases, a delinquent payer may be denied issuance of a passport or ordered to serve a jail term until the arrearages are paid, per FindLaw.

Under full protection from the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, arrearages from child support cannot be discharged by a bankruptcy and are not typically dismissed by the courts, as stated by FindLaw. If the individual requests a reduction in child support payments, the delinquent payer is still responsible for arrearages and any changes to the child support order begin on the day of court and do not apply to past court-ordered payments.

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