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Back child support arrears. Can I request to reduce the interest accrued on the balance owed and lower the garnished amts taken?

Sacramento, CA |

My son is in college and has lived with me since his 7th grade. They started garnishing my checks after a few months ago for the arrears I owe. I can't pay that and also help my son financially get thru college. I have a court case coming up because I want the interest owed reduced and the garnish amt reduced. I have 2 other kids. The county clerk told me that the judge can't do anything about that. Is this true? Should I hire a lawyer to fight my case?

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Attorney answers 3


You should definitely hire competent legal counsel to help in this matter. I am unfamiliar with California law, but if the Court orders the amount you pay each month to be reduced, I dont see where that could be a problem. I do not know if the interest rate can be changed as that is probably the "legal rate" as defined in your state.


The clerk is incorrect. A motion can filed with the court to re-determine arrears. I assume this is the motion you have already filed? You state "a court case coming up", what is the nature of this proceeding?

Be ready to present evidence that the arrears was calculated incorrectly. If you request the interest owed be reduced and the garnish amount be reduced, be sure to have evidence on hand to support your inability to pay support arrears in light of your current expenses. The fact that those expenses include putting your son through college should help your position if that son is also the son the arrears is related to.

Despite the fact that it is self-serving, I always suggest retaining an attorney. There are many benefits to having an attorney represent you in matters like these. I practice in Sacramento and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you.

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Unfortunately, California law specifically prohibits abatement of support arrears AND the interest owed thereon by a judge. If the money is owed to welfare arrears, the State of California has a Compromise of Arrears Program that may help in reducing the amount payable. If the money is owed to the custodial parent, he/she may waive any or all of the amount of support and interest owed through a stipulation approved in court. Since both parents generally feel responsible to support a college education, the custodial parent may be willing to waive in exchange for the payment of the college education. You should consult with a qualified attorney because the amount of principal and interest owed may not always be accurate. A qualified attorney can help review the orders to make sure the support is being charged accurately.