Arrears in Child Support

1. I owe arrears for child support and have a warrant for my arrest. How do I get the warrant lifted?

You will need to appear in Court to get the warrant lifted. Many judges will make you pay “purge payments” toward the arrears owed before you will be released from jail.

2. Can I get an appointed attorney to represent me because I am behind on child support?

No. You are not entitled to appointed counsel for child support matters when you are obligated to pay them. However, you are entitled to a contempt hearing to “show cause” as to why you failed to pay your monthly child support obligation before the Judge decides whether to put you in jail or allow you to make a purge payment. The amount of the purge payment depends on how far behind in child support arrears you are as well as what you have the ability to pay after an examination of your finances. I strongly advise you to obtain legal counsel prior to the hearing.

3. Can the custodial parent (parent who is getting the child support) forgive arrears?

No. Child support arrears constitute a final money judgment in Alabama. However, you can obtain a credit if you can prove you have spent in excess of what the regular child support amount is on the child in certain circumstances. Based on a credit given, the Court can then determine if the arrears still remain in effect or if the credit forgives any arrears in full.

4. Who gets the interest on child support arrears?

The State may get some interest on the arrears if they provided services to the custodial parent as a result of the other parent failing to pay child support. In addition, some of the interest goes to the custodial parent. Often times, the interest can be negotiated in favor of a reduction or a lump sum.

Please be aware that this is not legal advice, but merely, an answer to guide you in the proper direction. I would need to have a consultation with you and be apprised of all facts before I could give legal advice that could be relied upon. Additionally, no attorney-client privilege has been established. In accordance with AL Rules of Professional Responsibility: ““No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.”

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