Engaging in a discussion of how to waive past due payments requires understanding some legal terms. First, this type of financial support is an amount of money a court calculates by taking into consideration the parents’ income, the number of children the parents are responsible for, and other factors concerning the state laws. In the child support arrangement, a portion of one parent’s income goes to the other parent to support their children. “Back child support” is a term used to describe payments that were previously due and remain owed. “Child support arrears” is another term used interchangeably. In some instances, you can get child support arrears dismissed, but you may need to consult with an attorney first.
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Sometimes a parent may fall behind on child support payments through no fault of their own. For instance, they might lose their job or experience a layoff. Even when a parent can find a new job, it doesn’t always pay as well as the previous one did. Sometimes, a parent faces an additional and immediate cost, such as the need to repair a car, which, as their only means of transportation, is necessary in order to keep their job and continue making child support payments. Sometimes, other life circumstances present themselves and result in someone falling behind.
Waiving Back Payments Owed to a Parent
In some cases, courts waive some or all back child support, but these scenarios involve the cooperation of both parents and the legal representation of an attorney. If you follow these three steps, you and your ex-spouse can have a waiver filed with the court.
1. Try to Come to an Agreement that Satisfies Both Parents.
The parent in arrears might make an offer to pay a portion of the back support owed in exchange for the other parent agreeing to waive the remaining balance due. However, even if you both agree on terms, only a court can approve a settlement that waives child support owed.
2. Record your Agreement in Writing.
If the parties come to an agreement, they must produce it in writing and properly file it with the court for consideration. Find out from your attorney if your state has additional requirements, such as signing in front of a witness or having the agreement notarized.
3. Wait for the Court’s Decision.
The court engages in a balancing test, considering whether waiving the past due payments are in the child’s best interest. Often, if the parents agree and the explanation for the failure to pay is reasonable and related to life circumstances beyond the parent’s control, then the court will sign off on the agreement. However, if the court feels there is fundamental unfairness to the agreement, that it is not in the child’s best interest, or that it was signed under duress, they may choose not to sign off on the agreement to waive back support.
Another option is that the parent with child support arrears must engage in waiver negotiations with the state. Many states have help available online for parents who want to settle their debt for a fraction of the amount owed, provided they meet certain conditions. Back child support, or child support arrears, can build up if a parent encounters some kind of financial hardship. Because it is a court-ordered arrangement, parents must go through a legal process to waive these payments.
Contact an Attorney
If you need help to get through this complex process to get child support arrears dismissed, speak to a professional attorney.