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AlexiaEsq.
AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  19+ Years of Legal Practice in Family law matters.
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Is there a child support arrears reduction/settlement program

Customer Question

Is there a child support arrears reduction/settlement program in Alabama and Kansas? I owe over $30K in arrears, but would like to pay a lump sum in a settlement to dismiss these arrears (perhaps $10K). I've had a wage garnishment for almost a year now, but want to get the arrears dismissed and off my credit report.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 4 years ago.

Welcome!

 

I am an attorney with 17+ years of legal experience and am working diligently on your answer while I await your response. While I am permitted to provide you with legal information, I am prohibited by JustAnswer.com and various state bar associations from giving legal advice, representing you, or entering into an attorney-client relationship through this open forum. I will, however, be able to engage in follow up if you need additional clarification on a legal answer. Do you understand and agree to these provisions as well as Justanswer.com's disclaimer?

Please respond with a Yes or No to continue.

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes, I accept
Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 4 years ago.

Hi again, and thank you.

 

I have searched both Kentucky and Alabama and do not find that either one of these states have an official debt settlement program or pilot program currently. You certainlhy picked two of the the least friendly obligor states in the nation.

 

However, that does not prevent them from doing so (settlements) on a case by case basis. My understanding though is that it is generally used for those that are unable to pay from income, or will be shortly, such as due to disability, over 65, etc. There are some firms that claim to specialize in child support arrears settlement negotiations with the respective state, so that may be your best bet. I would be careful to now pay a tremendous amount for their efforts (i.e. only flat fee or % fee of reduction), because I think given the fact that you can certainl pay the arrears over time, your chances are slim for reduction or settlement. At $30k, your support for your children is far less than many kids colleges, and since they are not able to compromise school debt when able to pay, I just don't see them allowing you do not pay your child support, which most consider to be top priority. I know it stinks to have $30k in debt (upon which interest accrues), and if you can't get that settlement you want, I would consider working double time for a couple of years to knock it off and get off your back. Like school loans, it is one of those impossible debts that are very difficult to escape, unless severely disabled and unemployed.

 

Good luck.

 

 

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, everything you've told me I've already found by GOOGLE. Also, the states were Kansas and Alabama, not Kentucky and Alabama. I'm aware that it appears that obligors have to be unemployed or disabled to possibly qualify on a "case by case" basis, but that isn't a fact, so that doesn't answer my question. In fact, obligors who are unemployed are not treated any different than employed obligors.

Basically, I was asking if there is any case law or previous cases (just one successful case would do in each state) regarding obligors requesting and successfully negotiating and/or settling arrears debts for less than their total amount owed. Since I can't look up cases or case law as easy as a real lawyer, that's why I resorted to this website. Do you know of any case that falls into this category?

I also felt like I was being lectured by you regarding my obligation of child support. In my case, I was young and unemployed when most of the support accumulated. When I finally found employment, I paid my support without a problem, but the arrears had already accumulated and continue to compound interest. My recent garnishment of my wages was at my request, not the courts to make paying my obligation easier.. rather than stroking a check each payday.

Could you please let me know if you can find any cases where the obligor has negotiated a settlement for a payment/payoff for child support... where the amount of arrears alone is paid, and the interest charges are forgiven would be an example.

Thanks.

 

Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 4 years ago.

Hi again, in response to yours:

 

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, everything you've told me I've already found by GOOGLE. --

(Not a lecture, just a request, so experts don't spend time providing legal answers on issues you feel you already have adequate answer to:) In the future, you may want to be more accurate when you answer the JustAnswer inquiry of:

 

Already Tried:
Nothing; this is the first time I'm researching this... being proactive to reduce the chance of passport withholding. (This was your response, which I accepted as accurate.)

 

Had you been more telling, I'd not have spent 1/2 hour confirming with research, my understanding of the current states of the law in 2 states (normally, I'd have required you to post your question regarding state #2 in a separate post - you may not realize this but the states are entirely separate, with separate laws, separate codes, separate agencies, all of which then require separate sets of research and inquiry).

 

Also, your question was: Is there a child support arrears reduction/settlement program in Alabama and Kansas? Not, your new question of, "can you give me caselaw of successful instances in both states"...the latter of which likely exceeds the scope of your chosen level of transaction. But I know this is troublesome for you, so I am going do both inquiries in this case, particularly since I apparently misread your state of Kansas as KY, ouch.

 

Also, the states were Kansas and Alabama, not Kentucky and Alabama. My apologies. Ugh, I hate when my eyes are bleary from too much reading and drafting. Kansas it is.

 

I'm aware that it appears that obligors have to be unemployed or disabled to possibly qualify on a "case by case" basis, but that isn't a fact, so that doesn't answer my question. Your question concerned whether there were PROGRAMS in the 2 states, which I'd already answered for you. This commentary of mine on criteria that provides added ammo for a case by case favorable decision was ADDED information that you didn't ask about, but I thought may be helpful to your understanding. It also happens to be true that: "...it is generally used for those that are unable to pay from income, or will be shortly, such as due to disability, over 65, etc." You may want to double check your google sources.

 

In fact, obligors who are unemployed are not treated any different than employed obligors. Untrue. Sorry. Income levels, employment status, etc., are all criteria involved. (And of course, for success, we are not referring to the voluntarily unemployed, but the involuntary, by and large). Much of the time, it is the likelihood of repayment that can play a factor in the case by case handling of these - the less likely the states believes the arrears will be paid in full, the more likely it is willing to cut some losses.

 

Basically, I was asking if there is any case law or previous cases (just one successful case would do in each state) regarding obligors requesting and successfully negotiating and/or settling arrears debts for less than their total amount owed. (No, as noted, you were not asking that.....but enough said, I do understand that to be your new/changed question....Since I can't look up cases or case law as easy as a real lawyer, that's why I resorted to this website. Actually, yes you can, but it takes many hours to do such legal research. Pro se's can subscribe to Westlaw or Lexis Nexis - that is generally how they can successfully research. This is what lawyers do as well, when researching for clients.

 

Do you know of any case that falls into this category? I will look, but will take some time, since you are not researching a specific case, but looking for that needle. Please note that successful instances of case resolution via SETTLEMENT do NOT get appealed. And only appealed cases can be caselaw. So you may not have supportive case law.

 

I also felt like I was being lectured by you regarding my obligation of child support. Not at all! Sorry if the typed word appear that way. I very much sympathize. It frustrates me that decent people get into this jam, often because they didn't know that the moment they were laid off, they could have sought a temporary reduction in child support (sometimes even a termination/temporary), and these arrears would never have been created. But, they didn't know, perhaps didn't ask, and here they are, X years later. The courts don''t exactly make it easy for people to negotiate or have knowledge, and they don't teach us these life important facts in highschool (we're to busy reading Shakespeare, I suppose..don't even get me started :))

 

In my case, I was young and unemployed when most of the support accumulated. When I finally found employment, I paid my support without a problem, but the arrears had already accumulated and continue to compound interest. Yes, it is a terrible burden, I know.

 

My recent garnishment of my wages was at my request, not the courts to make paying my obligation easier.. rather than stroking a check each payday.I'd do the same - out of sight, out of mind, and much better for the mental aspect of it.

 

Could you please let me know if you can find any cases where the obligor has negotiated a settlement for a payment/payoff for child support...I will look, but please remember what I said above - only APPEALED cases can be published caselaw.....which makes it unlikely to find.

 

where the amount of arrears alone is paid, and the interest charges are forgiven would be an example. As noted, this does not appear to be a caselaw issue - I know that may not be clear to you. But I will see if I can locate any cases that perhaps discuss the issue in dicta, even if they don't actually involve same as issues on appeal.

Thanks. I'll be back to let you know if (and what) Ka and/or Al have caselaw on point.



Edited by AlexiaEsq. on 11/22/2010 at 5:02 PM EST
Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 4 years ago.

Oh, one other thing that is critical, possibly:

 

Is your arrears assigned or unassigned? Are they owed to the State (for prior state assistance given to ex while you were unable to pay), or to the ex? (Could be a combination.)

 

Let me know!

Thanks.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for clarifying my questions. The written word is definitely misleading. As far as the arrears being assigned or unassigned.. I have absolutely no idea. I just looked up the amounts on the state websites, and it showed my totals. I also received breakdowns a year ago, where it separated amounts (not sure how they were separated) and gave me two amounts marked 'support' and 'arrears.'

I can pay part of the money owed, because I have an overseas contractor job now, but I can't pay all of it. My passport is coming up on a renewal in a year, so it's important that I take care of this before I end up losing my job because I can't renew it. To get my passport the first time, I had to hire a lawyer to argue that I was finally employed overseas, and in order to start paying support, I needed my passport. That was 8 years ago.

Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 4 years ago.

Hi jca,

 

Just letting you know, so far no caselaw on point...

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19+ Years of Legal Practice in Family law matters.