Understanding child support and Compromise of Arrears

Paying child support in Orange County is an integral part of raising a child if the couple is no longer together. In some instances, though, a supporting parent, for one reason or another, does not make the payments on time, in full or both. This can lead to legal problems and penalties. One possible alternative for a supporting parent who owes some of the child support to the government due to benefits paid on behalf of the child, is to consider the Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP). This allows a supporting parent to lower what is owed to the government. Before moving forward with this program, it is important to know whether or not the supporting parent qualifies. If so, the parent will only have to pay a portion of what is owed in child support.

The parent might qualify if there is at least $501 past due; the parent has not stopped paying child support because of COAP; the parent did not conceal or misrepresent income or assets; the parent cannot pay all that is owed within three years if there is no compromise; all child support owed to the custodial parent can be paid in one lump sum; the parent must pay current support, if owed; there has not been a conviction or finding of contempt or failure to pay child support in the previous six months; if there has not be a COAP agreement denied in the previous year; and if the parent has not had a COAP agreement rescinded within the past two years.

COAP will take the interests of the child into consideration and it must also be in the interests of the state. COAP will not do the following: forgive the whole debt; change monthly support obligations; compromise arrears that are owed to the custodial parent; and compromise arrears for spousal support.

For parents who are behind on their child support payments or are confronted with the penalties of failure to pay child support, COAP might be a viable option to get rid of delinquent payments owed to the government. A non-custodial parent with questions about COAP may wish to consider contacting an experienced family law attorney to potentially help deal with child support payment problems.