How to Reduce or Eliminate Arrears:
In order to reduce or eliminate your arrears, it is important to distinguish between arrears owed to Child Support Services and arrears owed to the other parent. If you owe arrears only to the other parent, then you can often negotiate a settlement. This usually works especially well if the other parent has not been able to collect anything from you in several years.
COMPROMISE OF ARREARS PROGRAM
For those who owe arrears to Child Support Servicews, the Compromise of Arrears Program is a program that allows local Child Support Services offices to reduce arrears owed pursuant to a set of rules and formulas. It is new, very few people know about it, and it may not last. So, it is something you may want to seriously consider taking advantage of.
However, Child Support Services has traditionally been known for its deceptive acts and practices. It has been extremely aggressive in its collection efforts. It still "calculates" arrears in a way that is not recognized by any acceptable accounting methods; a way which causes alleged arrears to be much higher than they should be.
Thus, you need to proceed with extreme caution. Although your local Child Support Services agency will act like they are there to help you and will tell you that they have programs to assist you in lowering your arrears, you need to realize that their stated purpose is to collect as much money from you as they possibly can. They have a "secret manual" that they use, that is not made available to the public. This manual tells them how much they can reduce your arrears, depending on your situation. The bottom line is that if you have any assets at all that have any equity in them, be prepared to surrender them. Also, be prepared to live at poverty levels for the next 3 years. If you are thinking about getting married, do not do it, because Child Support Services will then say you have another means of support. I have found that by filing bankruptcy, a person usually automatically qualifies for an arrears reduction program. Also note that Child Support Services may try to get you to agree to an alternative to the arrears reduction program. These "alternatives" usually involve the offering of rights you already have and would be able to get if you were to go to court. DO NOT AGREE TO AN ALTERNATIVE WITHOUT TALKING TO A LAWYER FIRST. Usually, by hiring a lawyer, you can get better "alternative" terms from a court than you can from Child Support Services.
This is not to say that the Compromise of Arrears Program is not a good thing. It is an extremely good thing. One might say, it is one of the best things the California government has done, ever. However, there are dangers hidden in the details of the program. So proceed with caution, and use an experienced lawyer.
BACK TO HOME PAGE