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Child Support / Compromise of Arrears

ESSENTIAL RESOURCES & DOCUMENTS

Overview

What Is The Compromise Of Arrears Program (COAP)?

You may qualify to reduce your child support arrears (past due support) owed to the government.  The Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP) is a program designed to help non-custodial parents, such as you, reduce your child support debt.

Child support arrears owed to the government may be reduced if your child support case meets certain criteria. Any reduction in your arrears will be based on your income, assets and expenses.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for COAP and have your past due child support debt lowered if you meet all of the following:

  • You owe past due child support to the government because your child(ren) is receiving or has received public assistance.
  • You agree to pay all the past due child support owed to the family.
  • The past due child support you owe to the government is $5,000 or more.
  • You are able to pay some of the past due child support owed to the government.
  • You have not been found in contempt, or convicted of, failing to pay your child support in the last six months.
  • You have not had a Compromise Agreement denied in the last year.
  • You have not had a Compromise Agreement rescinded in the last two years.
  • You do not have an open child support case in more than one county.

How Much Can Be Lowered?

The amount your past due child support debt can be lowered is determined by a formula based on your ability to pay and the facts of your case.

    Step-By-Step Guide: Compromise Of Arrears

    What Do I Have To Do?

    To get your past due child support lowered, you must do the following:

    • Keep paying your child support. If you are paying child support now don’t stop or you will not be able to participate.
    • Ask for an Application for Compromise of Arrears package from your local child support agency, which includes the Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150), the Attachment to Income and Expense Declaration (DCSS 0576), and the Documentation Checklist (DCSS 0208).
    • Fill out and return the Application for Compromise of Arrears to your local support agency. 

    Responsibilities For Participating In COAP

    You must do the following:

    • Pay your current child support for one year as ordered by the court.
    • Pay all past due child support owed to the custodial party, or have it waived by the custodial party.
    • Pay the reduced past due child support owed to the government in one lump sum, or within three (3) years.
    • Give the local child support agency accurate information about all your income and assets. Income information includes, but is not limited to, paycheck stubs, tax returns and bank statements. Asset information includes, but is not limited to, information about your home and other real estate, cars, boats, cash, stocks and other valuable personal property.

    What Happens If You Sign A Compromise Agreement?

    If you sign a compromise agreement, the local child support agency will continue to enforce your support order in full until past due support is paid or compromised.

    This Agreement requires that you pay the custodial party and the State the amount specified in the Agreement. Additionally, the law requires that you pay the unassigned during assistance arrears (UDAA) to the custodial party. UDAA is the amount of unpaid child support arrears that is greater than the total amount of assistance paid to the custodial party. If such arrears have built up, you will still be responsible to pay these at the end of the agreement, but you do not have to make a lump sum payment.

    If you stay current on your payments within the compromise agreement, you will receive monthly compromises.

    When Can Your Agreement Be Rescinded?

    Any agreements between you and the local child support agency will be rescinded, and the past due support that would have been compromised will be reestablished immediately if you do any of the following:

    • You fail to make all your required payments in the first six months of the compromise agreement.
    • You did not provide the local child support agency with all of your income, assets, or other property information, or you purposely withheld any income, assets, or other property information that you knew you were going to receive at a future date.
    • You purposely withheld, destroyed, mutilated, or falsified any information, document, or record, or purposely made false statements related to your financial condition.

    When Can Your Agreement Be Partially Rescinded?

    If an agreement is partially rescinded, any payments that you have made will not be returned to you. The past due support that has already been compromised as a result of your payments will remain compromised.

    Any agreements between you and the local child support agency will be partially rescinded if the local child support agency finds any of the following:

    • After the first six months, you fail to meet your total current child support obligation over any three-month period and have failed to contact the local child support agency with information requiring an adjustment to your current child support order.
    • After the first six months, if you do not have a current child support obligation and you have failed to meet your total arrearage repayment obligation over a three month period, and you have failed to contact the local child support agency with information justifying a reconsideration of your repayment amount or schedule length.

    Forms Needed

    The below is necessary to proceed with the Compromise of Arrears application process. Please answer all relevant questions and attach extra pages if necessary.

    1. FL-150: Income and Expense Declaration
    2. DCSS 0576: Attachment to Income and Expense Declaration
    3. OCSS 0208: COAP Documentation Checklist

    Click here to access ca.gov’s free Payment Estimator

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