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Can COAP help if I have delinquent payments of child support?

It is not uncommon for people in Oakland who owe child support to fall behind in their payments. Delinquent payments of child support can lead to serious problems with the custodial parent, with the law and with individual aspects of life like an employer having to garnish wages to make the payments. It might be understood that the failure to pay child support is not in the best interests of the child, but there are times when the circumstances are such that the noncustodial parent simply cannot keep up with the payments. It is with these issues in mind that the State of California has the Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP).

This program is designed so noncustodial parents who meet the eligibility requirements can lower the amount they own for delinquent payments. These arrears are owed to the government since the state was supporting the children with public assistance while the child support was not being paid. Those who qualify for COAP can make a compromise offer to pay back the state. This amount will be for less than what is owed in full. This is contingent on the noncustodial parent's income and assets.

There is a computer program that the state uses to decide on how much must be paid and what the reduction will be. All cases are different. The amount that is owed can be paid in a lump sum or it can be paid over time through a payment plan. COAP will not: forgive the whole debt; alter the obligations per month; compromise what is owed to the custodial parent; or compromise arrears that were for spousal support. There are rules for COAP. The parent cannot stop paying because he or she is applying for COAP. All information must be provided with the documents when applying. The application must be truthful. The payments must be made as they are agreed upon. And the current child support orders must be paid.

Noncustodial parents who are behind on their child support payments should know that they have an option in COAP if they qualify. Speaking to a legal professional who is experienced in these matters can help with the child support case and deciding whether or not COAP is an option that can be beneficial.

Source: childsup.ca.gov, "Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP)," accessed on Dec. 13, 2016

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