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Is there any way to get child support arrears case closed due to being on SSI?

Milwaukee, WI |

I have two adult children that I owe back child support for. When I was working, I was paying the arrears order. I have recently been approved for SSI but denied for SSDI. Since SSI is considered a "government assistance program", child support enforcement said that they would close my case since they can't force me to pay since I can't work and they cannot take it out of SSI like they could if I got approved for SSDI. So is there a way that I can get a judge to terminate my arrears order since I have no ability to pay? Obviously I would still owe the money, but I have no way to make a monthly arrears payment.

And I have no hope of ever gaining any other employment or extra income in my lifetime. So can I ask for the case to be dismissed?

Attorney Answers 1


having SSI as your sole source of income is a basis for child support services to close its files on you and to cease enforcement efforts as it meets the federal closure standards. That is very different from asking a judicial officer to terminate the past due obligation since your current or future ability to satisfy that obligation rarely has any legal impact on the matter. I doubt any such application to the court would be successful and it may well be prohibited by law.

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Could I be held in contempt of court for not being able to pay the set arrears payment every month? My ex will continue to try and take me to court even if child support enforcement closes the case. So how do I stay out of contempt with the judge?

Jeffrey Scott Drabin

Jeffrey Scott Drabin


you are correct that even though Child Support has closed it's case it does not stop the other parent from continuing to seek to enforce the obligation & you are correct that she could seek to enforce that obligation via contempt. I do not practice in your state so I have no idea what the likelihood of her being successful would be if she were to bring such an action against you would be under your factual circumstances and you may wish to consult with a local attorney if this is one of your concerns. you may also want to go into court to modify any payment plan you may have so that the same is more in line with your current ability to pay based on your ssi income. Please consult with a local attorney in this regard.



Can I ask for the case to be moved to civil court? Since it's a debt and there are no minor children?

Jeffrey Scott Drabin

Jeffrey Scott Drabin


the obligation remains one for child support not withstanding the emancipation of the children and enforcement of the obligation remains in the family court.

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