Going through a divorce can be emotionally and physically stressful, especially if children are involved. Child support obligations are different from spousal support obligations in that child support is designed to help the well-being of the child. Generally, child support obligations stop when the child reaches the age of 18. However, the same is not always true for child support arrears.
What are Child Support Arrears?
Child support arrears are overdue child support payments. You will have child support arrears if you are ordered to pay child support but you have not paid or have only partially paid the child support obligation. Child support arrears include not only the amount of child support past due, but also 10% interest per year on the child support debt.
Additionally, California Family Code 4722 states that you may face a penalty that ranges from 6% to 72% of the delinquent amount if you are more than 30 days late in payment.1
The Difference Between Child Support and Child Support Arrears
Unlike child support payments, which generally end when your child turns 18 years old, child support arrears only stop once the amount due is paid in full. Thus, you may still have to pay child support arrears even after your child turns 18 years old if you haven’t fulfilled your past child support obligations.
Handling Child Support Arrears
Even though you may face a significantly increased child support obligation if you have child support arrears, a successful child support attorney can help you reduce child support arrears that you may owe.
Modify Child Support Agreement
Your experienced child support attorney can help you reach a mutual agreement with your divorcing spouse to help modify child support arrears by raising significant facts in the negotiation process that show the amount owed does not fit the current circumstances. Your attorney can raise issues that show the needs of the child have changed and so has your ability to pay the debt.
Negotiating to Settle with the Divorcing Spouse
Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the other parent and that parent’s lawyers to accept a smaller sum than the amount owed. If the other parent accepts the terms of the settlement, a court order can be filed to support the settlement and essentially replace the previous child support arrears with an amount agreed upon during negotiations.
If the other parent is claiming that you did not pay child support during a time in which your child was physically living with you, the court may factor that in when considering a reduction of your child support arrears. Your attorney may be able to show the court that your child was living with you at that time so that your child support arrears can be reduced or eliminated.
Call the Child Support Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
At Wallin & Klarich, we approach every case with the belief that the person we’re representing could easily be one of our own family members. We’ve seen firsthand how stressful legal matters can be for our clients and their loved ones. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you are involved in a family law matter, you need to call Wallin & Klarich today.
Our child support attorneys understand how stressful this situation may be for you. We have been successfully representing our clients in child support and family law matters for over 30 years. We can help you with your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich child support attorney available to help you no matter where you live or work.
Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. CA Family Code 4722↩