Reduce My Arrears

How can I reduce the amount of arrears I owe?

Child Support Debt Reduction Program

The Debt Reduction Program provides eligible parents with past-due child support payments the opportunity to reduce the amount they owe to the government. This debt, called “arrears,” is owed to the government if your dependent children received public assistance (welfare) or were in foster care while you were not paying court-ordered child support. Those programs are paid for by the state using taxpayer dollars, and federal and state law require that you reimburse the state for supporting your children during that time. If you qualify, you will be able to offer a compromise repayment to the state. In other words, you may offer to reduce the debt by paying an amount that is less than the full amount you owe. Any reduction in your arrears and interest owed will be based on your income and assets.

Each person’s child support case, or cases, is different. Arrears may be paid off all at once in a lump sum, or over time in a payment plan, depending upon the details of your case.

Any debt reduction agreement must take into consideration the needs of the children named in the child support order and the parent’s ability to pay.

Qualifying for the Debt Reduction Program:

  • To qualify, you must be able to pay both your current child support obligation AND an ongoing debt payment. If you don’t owe current support, only the ability to make the debt payment is considered.
  • Your current income, assets, and cost of living are all taken into account, as is the total size and makeup of your family.
  • As a general rule, if it is determined that your situation makes it unlikely that you could pay off the total debt within twelve months, you may qualify for the debt reduction program.
  • EVERY case is different, and these are very general items for review. Other details of your case may also affect your eligibility.

For more information regarding this program please visit the California Department of Child Support Services website:

Parents interested in obtaining more information about the Debt Reduction Program can call (408) 503-5347, email [email protected], or visit the DCSS Office at 333 W Julian Street, San Jose CA 95110.

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