How to Avoid Child Support Arrears

How to Avoid Child Support Arrears

A parent can avoid child support arrears by paying child support before the court orders it. Even if a parent has not been ordered by a court to pay child support, they are still required to contribute financially to their child’s wellbeing. This holds true even if they are not involved in the child’s life. Failure to contribute puts a parent at risk of being hit with thousands and thousands of dollars in back child support (child support arrears). Those arrears do not go away either. They must be paid. This can be a severe financial hardship for many fathers. This post will inform parents on how to properly pay child support before the Court orders them to.    

Child Support Arrears 

When child support is established through the courts, the child’s primary caretaker can ask for back child support for the time no support was ordered. But the Court does not have to order back child support. It is within a judge’s discretion to decide whether to award. And where a father shows he has been providing financial support for the child, judges are significantly less likely to award back child support.  

How to Determine How Much Child Support to Pay 

Use a child support calculator to determine how much a court would order a parent to pay and contribute that amount. Check out a Simplified Child Support Calculator to figure out how much to contribute.  

Ways to Pay Child Support to Avoid Arrears  

If a parent contributes to their child’s well-being, they should get credit for it and avoid owing thousands of dollars in child support arrears. But that is not always the case. According to judges and the Court, not all forms of payment are the same, and some are much more likely to be honored by the Court. Below is a list of ways to pay child support from the least likely to help you avoid arrears to the most likely to help you avoid it.  


  • Providing diapers and food directly to the other parent. This is not an automatic no, but it is close. On the surface, providing diapers and food seems to make sense—you are, after all, providing two of the most basic necessities for an infant or toddler. But Courts almost always refuse to credit this. For one thing, most parents don’t hang onto receipts to receive credit. Even with receipts, some judges may not credit that toward child support.    
  • Cash payments. Cash payments are difficult to prove. So, unless she is going to sign an Affidavit of Direct Payment and file that with the Court, you probably are not going to have the proof to show you paid her. You might be able to produce ATM records or bank records showing your withdrawals, but that does not prove the payment conclusively, as money withdrawn from a bank can be used for any purpose.  


  • Direct deposit into Mother’s bank account. Sometimes, parents transfer money to the other’s bank account at various times. This can be very hard to track and, unless the deposit slips are retained, it does not provide any proof of payment as most bank records do not note who is providing the money. If this is going to be used, this is where having them sign an Affidavit of Direct Payment to file with the Court is going to be the most beneficial.  
  • A check without anything in the memo line. You have proof you sent the money, but no memorialization of what’s it’s for. He or she can claim you were paying money you owed for something other than child support. That said, if you send one of these, submit it anyways when trying to prove to the Court you provided support. It’s a coin toss that you’ll get credit for it.  


  • Check with a specific memo line: You can pay by check and write in the memo line that it is for child support. Then there is no debate. Of course, checks are not used regularly anymore, so this option is dated.  
  • Cash apps like Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, Apple Pay, etc., as long as it is noted it is for child support. Perhaps the best solution is to pay using a cash app and write into the transaction memo that it is for “child support.” This then will help track your child support payments and protect you from the other parent denying the purpose behind the payments.   

Consult with an attorney and figure out the best steps to make sure your payments are recorded legitimately and establish regular payments through the appropriate medium.

Related pages and posts:

Child Support in Arizona (Webpage) – State 48 Law Firm

Child Support Blogs – State 48 Law Firm

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