Front of a check

I owe child support; can my stimulus check be seized? I’m behind on my child support payments, can I still get a stimulus check?

With people receiving stimulus checks, questions are arising regarding how child support obligations may impact their receipt of stimulus payments. The answer to both questions is: it depends.

If you are current on your child support payments, then your stimulus check will not be seized, and you should receive that stimulus payment so long as you are eligible.

The issue may arise if you owe child support arrears. Arrears means money that is owed that should have been paid previously. Many individuals refer to arrears as “back child support”.

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 yes, 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 owe in excess of your stimulus check, then the stimulus amount will be applied to your arrears, and you still have an arrears 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.

The CARES Act does not allow any exceptions for financial hardship, therefore, if you have arrears, you should not expect a full stimulus check.

If you and your spouse file jointly, and your spouse owes child support, then you may need to file an Injured Spouse Form to file a claim.

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.

At King Law Offices, we understand the challenges involved in any family law matter. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Come visit us at one of our multiple office locations throughout North and South Carolina.  You can schedule an appointment by calling 888-748-KING (5464).

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