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Last Updated on 1 year by AllinAllSpace

Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to their children. If a parent does not make their child support payments, they can accrue arrears.

This article explains what child support arrears are, the potential consequences of falling behind on child support payments, and the options available to address arrears. It also discusses the benefits of working with a lawyer or mediator and provides tips for staying on top of child support obligations. Whether you are a custodial or noncustodial parent, this article will provide essential information to navigate the complex world of child support arrears.

Understanding child support arrears

When a parent is obligated to pay child support but fails to do so, they can accumulate arrears. Child support arrears are the amount of unpaid child support that is owed to the parent that has custody of the child or children.

Depending on the state, these arrears can accrue interest and additional penalties, which can be added to the current amount owed. This means the amount owed can grow quickly. Parents who neglect to pay child support must know the possible outcomes and the remedies to resolve any overdue payments.

Consequences of falling behind on child support payments

Falling behind on child support payments can have serious consequences. Depending on the jurisdiction, a court may enter a judgment against the noncustodial parent and issue liens on their property. The court may also take away their driver’s license or passport or even hold them in contempt of court.

Moreover, the noncustodial parent may also be subject to wage or tax refund garnishment and have their assets seized. The court may also order a jail sentence in extreme cases. All these consequences can make it difficult for the noncustodial parent to pay off the arrears and stay on top of the payments.

Options for addressing child support arrears

When dealing with child support arrears, there are several options available. Depending on the amount owed, a parent might be able to negotiate a payment plan with the other parent. This can help lower the monthly payments and make it easier to pay back the amount owed. Another option is to ask the court for a modification of the original court order. This might help lower the amount of money owed or make payment less frequent. Finally, a parent might be able to apply for a loan or receive assistance from a government program to help pay off the arrears. Every situation is unique, so it is important to explore all available options before making a decision.

Working with a lawyer or mediator

If you’re dealing with child support arrears, consulting with a legal professional or mediator is highly recommended. They can provide valuable guidance and assistance to help you navigate this complicated process. Don’t hesitate to seek their expert advice for the best possible outcome. They can provide legal advice and help both parties come to an agreement about how to resolve the arrears. 

With the help of a lawyer or mediator, custodial and noncustodial parents can come to a resolution that is beneficial for everyone involved. A lawyer can also help with filing paperwork, such as modifications or motions to modify existing child support orders. In addition, mediators can provide a neutral third-party perspective and can help both parties come to an agreement without going to court.

If you’re looking for information on how to get child support arrears dismissed, consulting with a legal professional or mediator can help you determine the best approach and answer any questions you may have.

Tips for staying on top of child support obligations

Staying on top of child support payments can be a challenge, but there are ways to make sure you are meeting your obligations. First, it is important to stay organized and create a budget that takes into account child support payments. Make sure all payments are properly documented, and keep copies of check stubs and other records. Additionally, if possible, it is a good idea to set up automatic payments so that you don’t forget to make payments on time.

Finally, communication is key. If you are having difficulty making payments, it is important to contact the other parent or the court system as soon as possible. This can help avoid any potential penalties for falling behind on payments. Working with a lawyer or mediator can also be beneficial for both parties.


Navigating child support arrears can be tough. Knowing the basics and consequences of falling behind can help you make informed decisions. If you are a custodial or noncustodial parent and find yourself struggling with arrears, consider speaking to a lawyer or mediator. With their help, they can create a payment plan that works for you and your family. Lastly, keep in mind that staying on top of child support payments can help you avoid arrears in the future. With these tips in mind, you can manage your child support obligations more effectively.

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