The term “arrear”, which is legally defined as someone who is behind on an outstanding debt or liability, can apply to many different types of law. In the family law setting, the term is generally used in the context of child support when one parent is behind on a payment that they owe the other.
What Are Child Support Arrears?
After a married couple separates or divorces, one parent may be ordered to pay the other child support to help maintain their child’s lifestyle. The judge or the court will typically calculate the exact amount. Child supports payments should be used for necessities, such as food, shelter, education, health and medical care.
Paying child support is a legal responsibility and failing to pay it could result in consequences. Child support arrears happen when the parent responsible for paying support fails to pay the full amount or falls behind on scheduled payments. There are many reasons a parent may not pay, such as not having the financial ability, conflicts with the other parent, or that they move to a different state and believe they no longer have to make the payments.
2 Types of Child Support Arrears
There are two types of arrears: assigned and unassigned. Assigned arrears occur when the custodial parent, the one who maintains custody and control over their child, is on government assistance. In some of these cases, the non-custodial parent is required to make their child support payments directly to the state. If the parent falls behind in support payments, the state would pursue compensation for this type of arrear.
The second type of child support arrear is unassigned. This is a payment that the non-custodial parent makes directly to the custodial parent. All missed payments are added together. The total amount to be paid is called back child support. Interest is charged at a rate of 10%. Non-custodial parents who miss payments for longer than 30 days could be subject to a penalty up to 72% of what they owe.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Child Support Attorney
If you are involved in a child support proceeding, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced child support attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options with respect to the division of your assets.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley family law attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558, or complete our online form.