I have been paying child support arrearages for what seems like forever.
My child is now a grown adult with a family of his own yet I am still trying to pay off child support!
Why do I have to keep paying if the money is no longer going to support my child?
Child support arrearages can build up quickly and take months or years to eliminate.
Child support arrearages do not disappear when the original support obligation terminates. So even though your son is an adult with his own family to support, you still owe money for the support you were obligated to pay when your son was a minor child.
You should not, however, be paying for any new support obligations at this point, so make sure that the support you are paying is only for the back support you owe from years past.
If you are paying for arrearages accrued while your son was a minor, you will have to continue to pay those support arrearage payments until the arrearage is paid off. When you are in arrears on support, the state may take a number of steps to force you to pay your arrearage, including garnish your wages and apply your tax refund to your arrearage.
The court can also charge interest for your arrearage. The support you pay continues to go to the person you owed the payments to, presumably the mother of your son. You may not file bankruptcy on your child support arrearages, and the support arrearage will not go away until it is paid in full.
The best way to determine how to eliminate your arrearage is to first check with the Child Support office to determine how much arrearage you still owe and ensure that this is the correct amount (calculation errors can be made by the state).
If the amount owed is incorrect from some reason, such as you were held liable for support after your child was declared emancipated by the court or you were held liable for support in an amount different from the court-ordered amount, you may petition the court to fix your child support obligation.
If the amount you owe is correct, then you are obligated to pay that amount in full eventually. You may be able to contact the child support division of the prosecutor’s office to discuss settling on your arrearage as well.
Cordell & Cordell has divorce attorneys located nationwide.
Leslie Lorenzano is a Staff Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Lorenzano is licensed in the state of Indiana and the U.S. District Court Sothern District of Indiana. Ms. Lorenzano received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Purdue University, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona – James E. Rogers College of Law.