Can I Use the Compromise of Arrears Program with Child Support?

One of the most contentious issues that California parents will face as part of a divorce settlement is child support. This can continue after the case has been concluded as some noncustodial parents will have problems with delinquent payments and all the negatives that entail. Not only does it hinder the custodial parent’s abilities in raising a child, but it is against the law and car result in a variety of legal issues of the noncustodial parent.

For some noncustodial parents whose children were receiving public assistance or needed to be placed in a foster home because the state was supporting them, there are alternatives to get their payments up-to-date and avoid harsh penalties. The Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP) is one such alternative. Noncustodial parents can reduce the amount they owe in delinquent payments with this program. For those who meet the requirements to take part in COAP, they can make compromise repayments to the state. This will be less than the full amount. If there is a reduction, it will be based on the noncustodial parent’s income and assets.

There is a computer program that is used to decide on how much repayment will be necessary and what the reduction will be. The cases are judged on their own merits and what was done for one parent might not be done for the other as the circumstances will be different. The noncustodial parent can pay the arrears via lump sum or have a payment plan. COAP will not forgive the whole debt; alter the amount the noncustodial parent is required to pay per month; compromise arrears that are owed to the custodial parent, or compromise spousal support that is also delinquent.

Noncustodial parents must make their current payments even if they are approved for COAP. The payments must be paid as they have been agreed to. Current child support obligations must be paid. When parents are falling behind on their payments and would like a strategy to get back on stronger financial ground and get out from under the payments they owe, COAP could be a viable way to do that. Calling a law firm that is experienced in child custody and support can help to decide if COAP is a wise step and find other strategies if it is not.

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