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Child and Spousal Support Arrears - Part Two

What else can happen if you have support arrearages?

  1. If you owe more than $2,500 in support, the amount of your past-due support will be reported to consumer reporting (i.e. credit) agencies.

  2. If you owe more than $2,500 in support, the Secretary of State will refuse to issue a passport to you and may revoke, restrict, or limit a passport that was previously issued.

  3. If your arrearages are greater than or equal to more than two months of support and an order of income withholding is not applicable or has been unsuccessful in assuring regular payments on the support obligation and regular payments on the arrearage, then your occupational license, driver's license, or recreational or sporting license, or any combination of the licenses, may be suspended. See

  4. If you owe more than two months of support and were ordered to pay through state services, this creates an automatic lien against any real estate you own and your personal property, such as motor vehicles, if you fall behind. The FOC has the power to “perfect” these liens by notifying your county’s deed recorder or the Department of Motor Vehicles such that you would not be able to transfer your property without paying your child support first. However, this generally won’t occur until you’re more than two months behind. The FOC can also place a lien against your bank account, seize your past-due support, and send it to your child’s other parent. With permission from the court, it can force the sale of your property to collect on the lien if your back payments are significant.

What can you do? The legislature allows you to file a motion with the court as soon as you begin accumulating arrearages. You can request a payment plan to pay off your past-due balance. This generally protects you against enforcement measures by the FOC, but you would then have to keep your regular payments current while you’re paying down your past-due balance. Contact Sterling Law to help you with filing such a request. 231-486-0559 /

The information in this post is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Sterling Law or the individual author nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the reader’s licensing jurisdiction.

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