Child support arrears refer to the amount of unpaid child support owed to a custodial parent, which is frequently an issue when the noncustodial parent moves and child support enforcement becomes an interstate issue. Whether the custodial parent, adult child, or the state receives the back pay depends on the circumstances surrounding the repayment.

What Are Assigned Child Support Arrears?

Assigned child support arrears are the unpaid support given to the state. In this situation, the custodial parent was on public assistance, and the child support payments reimburse the state for financially supporting the child.

For example, if a non-custodial parent owed $30,512 in back child support. The non-custodial parent starts making monthly payments which includes interest. Those payments would go to the state as repayment for the years the custodial parent was on public assistance.

The custodial parent would only receive payments from the arrears if the state was paid in full and there was money left.

What Are Unassigned Child Support Arrears?

This is back child support that goes directly to the custodial parent if they have never received state or federal public assistance. A custodial parent never on public assistance is entitled to all the money the non-custodial parent has not paid, although they can choose to waive their right to this money.

What About Back Child Support Owed before I Went on Public Assistance?

If a non-custodial parent was in arrears before the custodial parent received public assistance, that amount is given to the state. It is a temporary assignment because the state uses the money as a reimbursement for the parent currently receiving assistance.

After the custodial parent stops receiving public assistance, the temporary arrears assignment becomes conditional. The state only takes money from a conditional arrears assignment if the payment received is from an income tax refund.

What Is the Compromise of Arrears Program?

In certain child support cases, the law allows a non-custodial parent to pay less than the total child support if the custodial parent receives public assistance.

Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding Child Support Arrears?

Yes. If you are owed back child support, you need to talk to a child support attorney. The attorney will advise you how to obtain the money, such as asking for a judgment of arrears from family court and filing a wage garnishment against the non-custodial parent.