How to Get Child Support Arrears Dismissed

You are probably reading this because you are looking for how to get child support arrears dismissed. If that is the case, then this article is for you. You can also read about the termination of child support.

Because parents are legally responsible for supporting their children, court-ordered child support mandates that the noncustodial parent give the custodial parent a set monthly payment for child support.

However, if the noncustodial parent reneges in paying this obligation, they will become in arrears. When this happens, the custodial parent will have the ability to file a lawsuit to recover unpaid back child support.

How to Get Child Support Arrears Dismissed

There are measures that can be taken if you have been ordered by the District Attorney’s office or a judge that you owe child support arrears and you are now looking for how to get child support arrears erased or reduced. In other words, you want to stop paying child support legally. Here are the measures:

1. Go into Negotiation with your ex-spouse

To come to a fresh agreement on child support arrears, you can try to talk with your ex-spouse. You can also make an effort to bargain with the DA. It’s possible that your ex-spouse will agree to settle the arrears if you can pay the debt in full in one single sum.

2. Submit a Motion to re-calculate Child Support

You can request a recalculation of your child support payment from the child support court or the family court judge. If you want the court to reevaluate your child support obligation, you must show the judge documentation of your income for the relevant years. Tax returns and pay stubs can be used for this.

3. Submit a motion to nullify the judgment ordering your child support.

A motion is frequently never served on parents, they are not given the required notice, or the computation is off. In certain instances, you may file a motion to annul all or a portion of the child support arrears judgment.

4. Prove You Have Custody of the Child by Demonstrating the Child Lived With You

You might be able to ask the court for a decrease in child support if you are able to convince the judge that the child spent at least 40% of the time with you. Joint custody is a 60/40 split according to some state laws. If you can prove you truly had custody of the child for at least 40% of the time, you can be eligible for a recalculation of back child support.

5. Update Your Child Support Agreement

When you are desperate about how to pay off child support arrears, it’s critical to confirm the details of your present child support responsibility. You can be eligible for an offset of the excess vs any arrears if your present obligation was assessed wrongly.

6. Request for a structured Payment Plan.

If you have been ordered to pay child support, request the judge to establish a fair payment schedule. Tell the court your earnings, your monthly costs, and any other unusual circumstances in advance. The Court may, in some instances, agree to accept a small payment of your arrears in order to comply with these situations.

7. Use the Child Support Arrears Forgiveness Program

For noncustodial parents who meet certain requirements and have accumulated child support arrears of a minimum of $1,500, certain states grant child support debt forgiveness. State-owed debt will be forgiven gradually over a 6-year period if the parent abides by the arrears forgiveness agreement. Source. By using this method, you will be able to get child support arrears paid.

8. Pay Lump Sum Child Support Arrears

If you owe a large amount of child support arrears, you may consider paying a lump sum to satisfy the debt. A lump sum payment can show good faith and may be more feasible for you than making regular payments.

To negotiate a lump sum payment, consider contacting the recipient of the child support payments and negotiating the terms of the payment. It may be necessary to involve the court or an attorney to make the agreement legally binding.

Motion to dismiss child support arrears

If you have a genuine reason why the arrears should be dismissed, you can file a motion to that effect. A motion to dismiss child support arrears is a legal request to the court to cancel or discharge a debt that is owed for past-due child support payments. This motion can be made by the person who owes the debt or by the recipient of the child support payments.

The court will consider factors such as the payer’s financial situation, the length of time the debt has been owed, and any efforts made to repay the debt when deciding on the motion to dismiss. If the motion is granted, the debt for past-due child support payments may be waived, reduced, or otherwise satisfied.

It is important to note that a motion to dismiss child support arrears is a legal process and requires the involvement of the court. It is recommended to seek the assistance of an attorney when filing a motion to dismiss child support arrears.

Child Support Arrears Forgiveness Letter

If you are struggling to pay off accumulated child support arrears, you may consider writing a child support arrears forgiveness letter. This letter is a request to the recipient of the child support payments, typically the custodial parent, to forgive child support arrears.

When writing the letter, it is important to be honest and explain your financial situation. Include any relevant information about changes in your income or expenses, such as job loss, medical bills, or other hardships. Show a willingness to make payments going forward and offer a repayment plan if possible.

It is important to note that a child support arrears forgiveness letter is not a legal document and does not guarantee that the recipient will forgive the owed amount. However, it can help start a conversation and show good faith on your part.

Child Support Arrears Forgiveness Letter sampleIt may also be a good idea to consult with an attorney before writing a child support arrears forgiveness letter, as they can advise on the best approach and provide guidance on navigating the legal system.

Types of Child Support Arrears

Before you can go into the details of how to get out of paying child support arrears, it’s reasonable to first understand the types of child support arrears you may fall into. Be aware that there is also forgiveness of state-owed child support arrears.

1. Assigned Child Support Arrears

Assigned child support arrears accumulate when the non-custodial parent neglects their child support obligations while the custodial parent is receiving government aid. In a scenario like that, the non-custodial parent, rather than the custodial parent, pays money to the state because the government is caring for their child.

The non-custodial parent’s primary concern would be to completely reimburse the state. After paying the arrears, any remaining amount will be given to the custodial parent.

A challenging situation could arise for non-custodial parents who have accrued assigned child support arrears. They have good news in that states are inclined to negotiate their debts.

2. Unassigned Child Support Arrears

The obligations a non-custodial parent owes solely to their co-parent are referred to as unassigned child support arrears. This time, none of the provided back payments will go to the government as money.

If the spouse with primary custody accepts to forgo the debts, unassigned child support arrears might not be paid by the non-custodial parent.

Difference Between Child Support Arrears and Retroactive Child Support

The non-custodial parent is seen to be in arrears on their child support payments when they have not completed their payments as mandated by a court.

Retroactive child support on the other hand is those payments that the non-custodial parent may be required to make but has not yet been ordered to do so, even though the custodial parent is entitled to,

How Many Payments can be Missed Before Jail?

The Court Establishes Child Support Arrears (debt)

The major difference here is that while a parent is said to be in child support arrears or arrearages simply because a court had ordered the payment to pay, retroactive child support refers to the same unpaid monies, but in this case, a court has not yet ordered it. A judge can still order the retroactive support to be paid if a petition is brought before him/her.


As can be seen from the steps outlined in this article, the ways to get child support arrears dismissed are not very hard to accomplish. Getting into child support obligation debt is not the end of the world. You just need to understand and follow the steps to stop paying child support legally

If you are in need of expert child support or family lawyer to help you navigate the murky waters of divorce and life after, click here to access our pool of attornies for our members.


Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.

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