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What happens when you fall behind in child support payments and accrue arrearage in the state of Indiana?

person with wallet and money

If you have been court ordered to pay child support and find yourself falling behind in payments, it’s important to educate yourself and know what happens when you don’t pay child support and how arrearage works in the state of Indiana.

What is child support and arrears?

Child support is court ordered payments, to be paid by the non-custodial parent, to the custodial parent, for the benefit of a child. Child support is calculated by using a court approved worksheet, taking many factors into account. Should you ever fall behind or simply choose not to make the child support payments, you are automatically in arrears of the payment. Arrears or arrearage refers to when you fall behind in payments and owe money to the court. Arrearage is a general term and can accrue from child support, spousal maintenance, property division settlement orders, etc.

How to avoid arrearage and owing back child support pay:

Short answer: do not miss any payments. If you do not follow the court ordered support agreement, you can be found to be in contempt of court. Meaning, the court will be notified of your arrearage, due to lack of payment.

Even if you believe the payments need adjusting or if you have changed jobs since you were last in court, keep up with all payments, per the original court order and if needed, petition the court for a modification of the child support.

Arrearage is easy to fall into, and difficult to catch up on too many missed payments. Should you refuse to make the payments, the courts will try to enforce the agreement and ensure that the payments are being made. In some cases, this can unfortunately include jail time, a suspension of a driver’s license and even a direct garnishment of your wages.

How does back child support (arrearage) work and does it ever go away?

Short answer – no. Even if your child is now a legal adult, if you owe arrearage, in the eyes of the court you are still required to pay that back. The support is supposed to be going for the child’s expenses, and while one party was not paying the support, the other party had to pick up the slack. That money is still owed, whether you think it’s right to pay it back or not. Remember, child support payments are for the benefit of the child only. The money is supposed to help the custodial parents with providing food, clothes, school supplies, healthcare for the child and not to be used as spousal support or any other purposes.

How do I check my arrears in Indiana?

If you are not sure you owe child support or how current your payments are, you can always check your online account or directly call the courts. (*see the useful links and references at the bottom of the blog for some helpful info!) Although, if you are requesting a full history of your child support payments from the courts, beware, as there might be an associated court fee for those records, so remember to always ask!

At the end of the day, any court ordered agreement or settlement must be upheld to avoid any further legal repercussions. Should you disagree with the ordered payment amounts, it is wise to consult and consider retaining experienced legal counsel so they can help you with any potential modification of your case.

Every case and situation are unique, and if you or someone you know find yourselves in need of legal assistance you can always consult one of our experienced family law and child support attorneys for legal advice. You can schedule a consultation by submitting an online Contact Form at Contact Us | The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky ( or by directly calling our office at (317) 743-7958.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.

*Useful links and references:

Child Support Orders General Information:

“Child Support Orders”, Indiana Department of Child Services, Mar. 2024,

Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines:

“Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines”, Indiana, Mar. 2024,

To check your child support payments and history:

“”, Indiana, Mar. 2024,

How to make a child support payment:

“Non-Custodial Parent Child Support Payments”, Indiana Department of Child Services, Mar. 2024,