The state still collects the same amount from my check each week but my son's mother has not received any money since April. I was told she can wipe out my arrears, a friend's ex wife did that for him. Is this possible?
Child support obligations become judgments by the operation of law. The Massachusetts Legislature has prohibits by statute the retroactive modification of child support judgments with the exception of the period of time after a complaint for modification is filed. It is unclear whether you still pay child support for your son in addition to paying back the arrearage. If there has been a change of circumstances, you might be able to modify child support prospectively (meaning going forward in time). This may help you pay back the arrearage faster. But, you will not be able to file a complaint to amend child support retroactively (meaning going backward in time). More facts would be helpful. It would be wise to hire a family attorney for a consultation. Good luck!
There are two legal issues in your question:
a) termination of child support
b) waiver of arrears
If you son is 20 years old and not enrolled full time in a college program it is likely that you may ask and receive an order terminating child support. There are other factors that will be considered by the court such as is he still "dependent" on support from the custodial spouse, are there medical problems, etc. Speak with a family law attorney who will ask more specific question in order to better assess the likelihood of prevailing in a complaint for modification (of support).
Regarding the waiver by the mother, the Mother can waive arrears; but the State will not. If any portion of the arrears are owed to the state they will continue to garnish your pay until that arrearage is satisfied. This happens when the DOR filed for support because the mother was on public assistance--even if just for a short period or in the past.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney
Does your son's mother receive any state benefits like Welfare? If so, then the state may be holding on to your payments to pay itself back for the support it gave her while you weren't paying.
To answer your specific question: yes, your ex-wife can forgive your arrears--she is not obligated to do so. The money you owe is partially interest, but it's also partially support payments you never made in the first place that are in fact owed to her. Basically, she fronted you your child support payment amounts in raising your son by footing 100% of the bill while you weren't paying support.
As a former DOR/Child Support Enforcement Attorney, I can tell you that the mother has the authority to close her case at the DOR. However, there are several caveats here. I would suggest reaching out to an experienced child support attorney for assistance.
There is a way to make this easier for both you and mother. I wish you the best of luck.
Anthony Rao, Esq.
The above response is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer, and any communication between us is not protected by attorney-client privilege.
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