Child support is such a common legal term in today’s world that even parents getting divorced for the first time know what it means and understand the expectations placed upon them to continue supporting their minor children. What they may not have heard before is a term known as child support arrearage and the negative consequences associated with it.
What does it mean when someone is in arrears on their child support payments? Let’s take a look in today’s blog post.
Child Support Arrears — Defined
Paying parents have a duty to support their children through child support payments, regardless of what happens to their marriage and how much time they ultimately spend with their child. These Court-ordered payments are made regularly, usually to the parent who designates the child’s primary residence, and they are meant to cover essentials such as clothing, food, shelter, education, etc. Once the amount of child support is set and a schedule is put in place through a child-support order, the paying parent must start making payments and continue doing so until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last.
If the child is physically or mentally disabled, the Court could order the paying parent to continue support indefinitely.
If the obligor parent fails to make timely payments, they can fall into child support arrears. This is a fancy term for when the paying parent falls behind and has unpaid or past-due child support. Child support arrears can add up for various reasons, including but not limited to the following:
- Payments stop completely
- There are one or more missed payments
- The paying parent is only making partial payments
How Do I Collect Child Support Arrears?
As you can imagine, child support arrears can add up quickly. And the consequences for not addressing the past-due amount can include everything from wage garnishment to liens on property, losing your driver’s license, and jail time. That said, not every child support arrears situation is intentional or calls for a judge to enforce your child support order. Many times, the paying parent falls on hard times due to job loss, illness, or injury and struggles to make right on their obligations.
In these situations, it’s important for the paying spouse to communicate with the other spouse and possibly work out a new payment schedule and seek a child support modification agreement from the Court. The paying parent will likely still owe the arrears, but lower payments moving forward, a possible reduction of arrears from the Court, and a payment plan could help them get caught up.
Please call Christman | Daniell for your legal needs today!
Looking for family law services in Collin County, Texas? Christman | Daniell is your premier choice. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the legal landscape, our skilled team is dedicated to helping families navigate complex legal matters. Whether it’s divorce, child custody, or adoption, trust Christman | Daniell to provide compassionate and effective representation for all your family law needs throughout Collin County.