Child Support Arrears — What You Need to Know

Child support arrears refers to the amount of unpaid child support owed to a custodial parent. You fall into “arrears” when you fail to pay the full amount ordered. When you have a child support order, it is not a suggestion of how much to pay, but the amount you must pay. Following a court order is important, and especially when dealing with child support since the arrears grow with a 9% interest rate.

How are Child Support Arrears Calculated?

Virtually none.

Current child support arrears are calculated by determining the difference between what the noncustodial parent owes and what they have paid. Even if the court later approves a new child support order with a smaller child support obligation, it can only be applied to the date that you filed a motion to modify the support. It will not affect the arrears balance.

I recently took a case where the obligor had not paid support to his ex-spouse for a number of years. The arrears owed was one thing, but the 9% interest made catching up and being current on the support obligation impossible. Although he was paying $200 a month on the arrears he owed, the money was being applied to the interest and he was essentially never going to pay down what he owed. This type of scenario is the worst case possible and although of course, it was his fault for not paying the support in the first place, it seems unfair to have a life sentence of payments that he can never get rid of no matter how long he pays.

I Could Not Pay my Child Support Because I Lost My Job. Now What?

Failure to Pay Child Support

If you still fail to pay, the court can take other punitive measures against you. Your driver’s license could be suspended, the state of Illinois can garnish any tax return or asset you have, like bank accounts, and can even take your home if you own it. Any asset you have can be accessed to pay back the child support amount. Your wages can be seized and other collection procedures could be started against you.

I Owe Too Much Money Now; Can I File for Bankruptcy?

Seek Legal Help If You Are Facing Unpaid Child Support

Contact Anderson & Boback today for a consultation with our experienced child support attorneys and get your questions answered about child support arrears.


When Everything Is On The Line, You Need An Attorney You Can Trust, That Will Advocate & Fight For Your Family! We Can Help!