Catching up on child support arrears – COAP

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Catching up on child support arrears – COAP

If people fall behind on their child support, it sometimes affects the other parents’ ability to provide for their children’s basic needs. As a result, they may apply for assistance through state or federal programs. In addition to owing their past-due support payments, then, people may also have to pay back the government for these benefits.

Understanding COAP may help people determine if it will aid them in catching up and staying current on their court-ordered support obligation.

Eligibility requirements

According to the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services, parents who owe past-due child support must meet requirements to qualify for COAP. The program’s eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Owing at least $501 in child support arrears to the government
  • Lacking the ability to otherwise pay the past-due balance and interest within three years
  • Staying current on ongoing support

Additionally, parents seeking relief through COAP must provide an honest accounting of their finances and situations, and they cannot have a record of the court finding them in contempt within the last six months for failing to pay child support.

Program benefits

According to the California Department of Child Support Services, the Compromise of Arrears Program gives parents the opportunity to resolve their arrears for less than the full amount owed. Through the program, they will propose a repayment to the state in a lump sum or in a payment plan.

Program limitations

When seeking help through COAP, people should keep in mind the things it will not do. The program cannot alter their monthly payment amounts, reduce the amount of past-due support owed to the custodial parents or forgive entirely the debt owed to the government. Only those parents whose children received public benefits while they were behind on child support may receive assistance through COAP.

The last thing anyone wants as a parent is to fall short of providing for the needs of their children. However, options such as the Compromise of Arrears Program may aid them to pay their past-due balances, helping them to care for their children.