Piling on Debt: The Intersections Between Child Support Arrears and Legal Financial Obligations

Vicki Turetsky, Maureen R. Waller
June 2020

This article examines the whys and hows of child support arrears as an unmanageable debt. It takes a special look at the child support arrears that accumulate during a parent’s incarceration. The article identifies several factors that contribute to the build-up of arrears including support orders that the parent can’t reasonably pay and enforcement measures that inhibit a parent’s ability to find a job such as driver’s license suspension. The authors make recommendations for policies that will lead to consistent child support payments, employed parents, and better family relationships.