Child support is a large part of any divorce settlement in which children are involved. Beginning in the 1980’s the government placed a more intense focus on enforcing child support payments and going after those who did not comply with their part of the arrangement.

Arrearages. Overdue child support payments are called arrearages. This can occur because of a failure to maintain work, inability to find work, or just simple refusal to pay. Washington judges have become increasingly strict about enforcing child support orders and collecting payments in arrears. If there is not a valid reason for the failure to pay, the court can find the non-paying parent in contempt. Back child support typically accrues at the statutory interest rate of 12%.

Excusing Child Support Debt. Typically, a judge cannot retroactively modify the amount required by a child support obligation. A parent can seek a modification of future support however. Doing so will help them avoid paying the high amount of support owed at the time if they are unable to do so due to reduction in wages or increase of debt. If the parent does not seek a modification, the parent who receives the child support can file to collect the total arrearage, in which case the court will require that the entire child support debt be paid.

If you are facing difficulty receiving or paying for child support, you need the support and advice of a family attorney who cares about the well being of your family. Child support debt is an issue that needs immediate attention so that your children continue to be cared for and you do not face mounting debt.