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If you owe back child support, can you agree to settle with the custodial parent for a less amount and be relieved of your debt?

Baltimore, MD |

I have a child support debt of 10,000. I pay my current child support via garnishment but none of the goes towards my debt (from when I was unemployed). Supposedly I was issued a court date, I never received the notice, and never went to court. As a result, law enforcement came to my job stating there is a warrant for my arrest. I spoke to the custodial parent and she agreed if I gave her $3500 right now, she would forgive the back debt. Is this possible, will the court order for my arrest be dropped? And if she received public assistance, is the money really do to her or the county in which she received assistance?

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Attorney answers 2


You can agree, in Pennsylvania to waive back child support - it would need to be made part of the court order and the judge might ask you to confirm under oath why you are doing same as the support is really that of the child's not yours to give up. You need to speak with an attorney in your state about the public assistance issue.Use the web site to find an attorney in your area. In addition to that, contact your local bar association for referral to an attorney who specializes in this. You will then be in a better position to determine what to do next. Best of luck to you!

I am Connie Merwine and have been practicing family law in northeast Pennsylvania for 23 years. Visit our website at MHK

The answer we have provided to you question does not establish an attorney client relationship between myself, Connie J. Merwine or our Firm MHK Attorneys. To get a full and complete answer to your question you should personally consult with a lawyer.


Technically, a parent cannot waive child support and cannot waive child support arrears once they are court-ordered. This is because the money belongs to the child and not to the custodial parent. However ..........

If the case is being administered by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), then the decision is up to OCSE and not the custodial parent. Therefore, you could talk to OCSE to see what they will do. Generally, OCSE does not waive child support arrears and collects from you over the years until its paid off. Still, offering $3,500 to OCSE will certainly keep you out of jail and the warrant will probably be dropped.

Worst case scenario, if you give her $3,500 you will get credit for the payment assuming you get a receipt and proof of the payment.