Child Support Arrears: Ways to Get Arrears Waived

Dealing with child support arrears in Arizona can feel overwhelming, especially when faced with the burden of overdue payments. You’re not alone in this challenge. Countless parents find themselves in similar situations, often filled with uncertainty about their financial future. The good news is that there are strategies to manage and potentially reduce these arrears, offering a path toward relief and a more manageable financial situation.

What Is Child Support Arrears?

Child support arrears occur when court-ordered payments are not made on time, leading to a backlog of owed amounts. In Arizona, these arrears can accumulate quickly, adding financial strain to both the custodial and non-custodial parent. The reasons for falling behind vary, ranging from changes in financial circumstances to misunderstandings about payment schedules. It’s important to know that while these debts are serious, they are not insurmountable. Addressing them promptly can prevent further legal complications and ensure the well-being of the children involved. 

Legal Grounds for Waiving Child Support Arrears

In Arizona, waiving child support arrears is possible, but it is quite difficult and hinges on specific legal grounds. The court may consider factors like significant changes in income, unemployment, disability, or other substantial life changes that affect the ability to pay. However, the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child and this is deemed more important than any financial challenges a parent might be facing. Importantly, both parents must generally agree to the waiver. Additionally, arrears owed to the state, as opposed to the other parent, often have different rules for forgiveness. Understanding these nuances is crucial, as navigating the legal landscape requires a thorough understanding of state laws and guidelines. It’s a sensitive process that often benefits from the guidance of a skilled family law attorney.

Reduction of Arrears Through Settlement Program

Rather than the waiver of child support arrears, it is much more likely to have the amounts owed reduced. Arizona’s Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) offers a settlement program designed to help individuals obtain a reduction in child support arrears. This program can be a viable option for those who face significant financial hardship and struggle to meet their child support obligations. Through this initiative, eligible individuals can negotiate a settlement with DCSE to reduce their arrears, under certain conditions. Both parents must agree to the terms of the settlement reached with the state. The non-custodial parent agrees to a lump sum payment to clear the debt and to continue paying child support according to the agreement. The court must approve the agreement and will then issue a new child support order by the terms of the agreement. It’s a beneficial route for those looking to rectify their financial responsibilities while still supporting the well-being of their children.

Strategies for Negotiating Arrears

Negotiating child support arrears requires a strategic approach, especially when seeking a reduction or waiver. The first step is to maintain open and honest communication with the other parent. Presenting a clear and honest account of your financial situation, including any significant changes that have impacted your ability to pay, is essential. Documentation such as income statements, medical bills, or unemployment records can substantiate your claim.

Another effective strategy is proposing a realistic payment plan. This shows your commitment to fulfilling your obligations while acknowledging your current financial limitations. It’s important to be realistic in your proposal, considering both your financial capacity and the needs of your child. Demonstrating a willingness to work towards a solution can often lead to more favorable outcomes and a more cooperative relationship with the other parent.

In addition, if you’re aiming to manage your child support arrears more effectively, you might consider requesting a modification of your current child support obligation. A successful modification, which can make payments more manageable and help you become current on arrears, requires demonstrating to the court that there has been a significant and ongoing change in your circumstances. This could include a notable shift in parenting time or a substantial change in income, like losing a job.

Working with a Family Law Attorney

Working with a family law attorney can significantly streamline the process of managing child support arrears. An experienced attorney understands the nuances of Arizona’s family law and can provide invaluable guidance tailored to your unique situation. They can assist in negotiating a fair agreement, represent you in court if necessary, and ensure that any proposed changes comply with legal standards. Engaging professional legal assistance not only offers peace of mind but also increases the likelihood of reaching a favorable resolution.

Get Help with Your Child Support Arrears

While managing child support arrears can be complex, understanding your options and employing effective strategies can lead to feasible solutions. You’re not alone in this journey— Cohen Family Law can guide you, ensuring your rights are protected and the best interests of your child are prioritized. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for personalized assistance and support.