Did You Know: …Divorce: Child Support: Differences bet. Arrears -vs- Past Support

Past (Child) Support:  a court-ordered obligation for a period of time that child support would have been owed prior to the establishment of the current child support order; Balances that are owed on past support do not accrue interest and are not considered “arrears” debts.  For example: John and Jane Doe are no longer living together.  John asks the Oneida County Child Support Agency to establish child support because Jane has left the house in July of 2012.  The Child Support Agency then schedules the matter for a hearing, having both parties served with the motion in August of 2012, with the hearing date in October of 2012.  During the October 2012 hearing date, the court orders a child support obligation for Jane starting 10/01/2012 at $200 per month.  The court then orders past child support for August and September because Jane Doe should have supported the children for those months as well…If the court does not order a payment amount on the $400 owed, the debt sits there until an order is entered on it, whether administratively or by an new order of the court.  If there is a repayment order on the “past support,” and if the payer does not make her payments, then that ordered amount becomes arrears and is subject to interest charges.

Arrears: is the accumulation of the current obligation amount not being paid by the payer.  If Jane Doe does not make her $200 October child support payment or her $50 past support payment, the Child Support Agency will roll-it-over into the “arrears” category…she would then owe $250 in arrears as of November 1st…if she did not make her November payments as well, then her arrears would be $500 as of December 1st PLUS (+) interest of 1% per month.  Jane Doe’s past support balance would be reduced by $100 and only the month  amount would roll over as arrears owed.