Arrearage: When used in reference to child support payments, this term refers to an accumulation of the past child support payments that were not paid by the non-custodial parent of a child in the manner that was ordered by the court. Child Support Arrearages can become a relevant issue in some stepparent adoptions, or in the adoption of non-infant children, because even though a severance, or termination, of the parental rights of the non-custodial parent who was ordered by the court to pay child support, and the subsequent finalization of the child's adoption, will relieve that parent of the "future" legal obligation to pay child support for the child, in most states, this does not erase the legal obligation of the now ex-parent to pay the unpaid child support payments (Arrearages) that became due before the termination and adoption became final. advertisement
If the custodial parent of the child received welfare payments during a period of time when court-ordered child support was not being paid, the rights to collect some or all of the child support arrearages may be assigned to the state agency that made the welfare payments. These assigned amounts can be recovered by the agency independent of the custodial parent that received the welfare payments.