Stimulus Checks and Child Support

Written by: Kaitlin Romanelli Myers, Esq.

Another round of stimulus checks have been approved for qualifying individuals for $1,400. Stimulus checks have raised many questions about whether these payments can be seized for child support arrears.  

Individuals who are current on their child support payments do not have to be worried about their payments being seized for child support payments. However, individuals who are in arrears (i.e. those who are behind on payments, often referred to as “back child support”), may have their payments seized. 

If you are delinquent on your child support payments, the State may have referred your arrears to the federal government for collection. If this has occurred, then your stimulus check will be seized and applied to your arrears. If you owe less than the amount of your stimulus check, then only the amount of arrears will be seized, and you will receive the remainder. If you own in excess of your stimulus check, then the stimulus amount will be applied to your arrears, and you still have an arrear balance.  

The seizure process for stimulus checks for child support arrears is like that for seizure of your tax return. Tax return seizure occurs under the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program. The stimulus check seizure occurs under the Debt Collection Improvement Act that allows for certain federal payments other than federal tax refunds to be offset.  

This means, there is the potential for your tax return to also be seized based on your arrears. This also means, if your tax return was seized and did not cover your arrears then your stimulus check will still be seized.  

If you owe arrears for child support, and believe that your child support obligation may be too high, you can discuss your options with an attorney and see if you would qualify for a modification of child support. Contact a family law attorney to discuss your case and move forward with your requests for child support and/or alimony modifications. 

The family law attorneys at Hall Booth Smith, P.C. are here to help you through the mediation process and any subsequent trials. If you have questions about child support you should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your child support or child custody case. If you have a custody or support matter in Asheville or the surrounding areas, you can call 828-232-4481. 

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