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Interest on Child Support Arrears

Interest on Child Support Arrears

ChildrenUpdated May 2013 Many parents who owe child support miss payments and accrue some amount of debt or arrearage. States have the authority to charge interest on unpaid support at the rate set by state statute. The interest is generally determined in the same way as other civil judgments. States may look at interest on child support arrears as both an incentive to encourage timely payments as well as a penalty for those who do not make payments.
 
At least 35 states authorize interest charges for child support arrears. Many charge interest at set rates per year, the most common being

  • 10 percent in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Oklahoma and Wyoming;
  • 12 percent in Colorado, Kentucky, Vermont, and Washington;
  • Nine percent in Illinois, New York, and Oregon;
  • Six percent in Alaska, Guam, Texas, and Virginia; and
  •  Four percent in Mississippi and New Mexico.

The following table describes each state’s policy on charging interest.

Table of Interest on Arrears, Retroactive Support and Adjudicated Arrears

State

Interest on Arrears

Amount

Interest on Retroactive Support

Amount

Interest on Adjudicated Arrears

Amount

Alabama

From Sep. 1, 2001: 7.5 percent per annum.*

From Sep. 1, 2001: 7.5 percent per annum.*

From Sep. 1, 2001: 7.5 percent per annum.*

Alaska

6 percent per annum, with interest accrual beginning at the end of the month support was due and not paid.

Statutory interest rate, which is 6 percent from Oct. 1, 1996.*

As ordered in the judgment.

Arizona

10 percent simple interest per annum.

10 percent simple interest per annum, prospective from date of court order.

10 percent simple interest per annum.

Arkansas

10 percent per annum.

 

N/A

10 percent per annum.

California

10 percent per annum, with interest accrual beginning the first day of the month following either the day the installment is due or from the date of entry of judgment.

10 percent per annum, with interest accrual beginning the first day of the month following either the day the installment is due or from the date of entry of judgment.

10 percent per annum, with interest accrual beginning the first day of the month following either the day the installment is due or from the date of entry of judgment.

Colorado

From July 1, 1979, 12 percent compounded interest per annum. Discretionary enforcement.*

From July 1, 1979, 12 percent compounded interest per annum. Discretionary enforcement.*

From July 1, 1979, 12 percent compounded interest per annum. Discretionary enforcement.*

Connecticut

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

Delaware

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

N/A

District of Columbia

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

N/A

Florida

A missed payment becomes a judgment by operation of law. Rates are determined annually by CFO. Interest charges are assessed by the clerk of the court in the county that issued the order or otherwise maintains the official payment record.

 

N/A

A missed payment becomes a judgment by operation of law. Rates are determined annually by CFO. Interest charges are assessed by the clerk of the court in the county that issued the order or otherwise maintains the official payment record. 

Georgia

From Jan. 1, 2007, 7 percent per annum commencing 30 days from the day such award or payment is due.

 

N/A

From Jan. 1, 2007, 7 percent per annum commencing 30 days from the day such award or payment is due.

Guam

Prior to Jan. 1, 2008, 12 percent per annum. Effective Jan. 1, 2008, 6 percent per annum.*

 

N/A

Prior to Jan. 1, 2008, 12 percent per annum. Effective Jan. 1, 2008, 6 percent per annum.

Hawaii

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

Idaho

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

Illinois

9 percent per annum on support obligations which become due and remain unpaid for 30 days.

9 percent per annum on support obligations which become due and remain unpaid for 30 days.

9 percent per annum on support obligations which become due and remain unpaid for 30 days.

Indiana

 

N/A

1.5 percent monthly if requested by a party and per a specific child support order.

1.5 percent monthly if requested by a party and per a specific child support order.

Iowa

10 percent interest charged on late payments in law, but not commonly applied to child support.

Only if reduced to or included in judgment. 10 percent interest charged on late payments in law, but not commonly applied to child support.

Only if reduced to or included in judgment. 10 percent interest charged on late payments in law, but not commonly applied to child support.

Kansas

Kansas law provides for the assessment and collection of judgment interest at 8 percent per annum, however the IV-D program does not calculate or enforce judgment interest.

8 percent per annum from date of judgment.

Kansas law provides for the assessment and collection of judgment interest at 8 percent per annum, however the IV-D program does not calculate or enforce judgment interest.

Kentucky

No interest unless case is referred to the Kentucky Department of Revenue for enforcement of arrears at 12 percent compounded interest per annum per order of the court.

 

N/A

No interest unless case is referred to the Kentucky Department of Revenue for enforcement of arrears at 12 percent compounded interest per annum per order of the court.

Louisiana

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

N/A

Maine

Although the state does not charge interest, it is authorized by statute at one-year United States treasury bill rate plus 6 percent.

Although the state does not charge interest, it is authorized by statute at one-year United States treasury bill rate plus 6 percent.

Although the state does not charge interest, it is authorized by statute at one-year United States treasury bill rate plus 6 percent.

Maryland

 

N/A

 

N/A

10 percent simple interest per annum on money judgments, but only applied in a limited number of cases by direction of the court.by direction of the court.

Massachusetts

From July 1, 2010, .05 percent per month when obligor owes more than $500 in past-due support and has not paid the minimum monthly payment. In certain circumstances, an obligor may be exempt or eligible to apply for a waiver for accrued interest.*

From July 1, 2010, .05 percent per month when obligor owes more than $500 in past-due support and has not paid the minimum monthly payment. In certain circumstances, an obligor may be exempt or eligible to apply for a waiver for accrued interest.*

From July 1, 2010, .05 percent per month when obligor owes more than $500 in past-due support and has not paid the minimum monthly payment. In certain circumstances, an obligor may be exempt or eligible to apply for a waiver for accrued interest.*

Michigan

From Jan. 1, 2011, surcharge calculated at six-month intervals at five-year United States treasury bill rate plus 1 percent per annum. Discretionary by judge.

From Jan. 1, 2011, surcharge calculated at six-month intervals at five-year United States treasury bill rate plus 1 percent per annum. Discretionary by judge.

From Jan. 1, 2011, surcharge calculated at six-month intervals at five-year United States treasury bill rate plus 1 percent per annum. Discretionary by judge.

Minnesota

From Jan. 1, 2008, 4 percent per annum.*

From Jan. 1, 2008, 4 percent per annum.*

From Jan. 1, 2008, 4 percent per annum.*

Mississippi

Dependent on order.

Usually charged at 8 percent per annum when payment is missed.

Usually charged at 8 percent per annum when ordered by the court.

Missouri

 

N/A

1 percent simple interest per month once reduced to a lump-sum judgment. Obligee must compute and file computation with the circuit clerk to make interest collectible.

1 percent simple interest per month once reduced to a lump-sum judgment. Obligee must compute and file computation with the circuit clerk to make interest collectible.

Montana

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

Nebraska

Judgment interest rate, which is calculated at one-year United States Treasury bill rate.

Judgment interest rate, which is calculated at one-year United States Treasury bill rate.

Judgment interest rate, which is calculated at one-year United States Treasury bill rate.

Nevada

In the absence of an express contract, interest rate is equal to the prime rate at the largest bank in Nevada on Jan. 1 or July 1 immediately preceding the date of the transaction, plus 2 percent upon all money from its due date.

 

N/A

In the absence of an express contract, interest rate is equal to the prime rate at the largest bank in Nevada on Jan. 1 or July 1 immediately preceding the date of the transaction, plus 2 percent upon all money from its due date.

New Hampshire

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

N/A

New Jersey

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

New Mexico

 

N/A

At the court's discretion.

From May 19, 2004, 4 percent.*

New York

9 percent on arrearages reduced to a money judgment by the court.

 

N/A

9 percent on arrearages reduced to a money judgment by the court.

North Carolina

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

N/A

North Dakota

For 2012 and 2013, interest rate is 6.5 percent. Interest is equal to the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal on the first Monday in December of each year plus 3 percent rounded up to the nearest one-half percentage point. IV-D program will calculate interest on arrears accrued after July 1, 2002; otherwise, interest only added to IV-D program if a court has ordered the interest amount to be calculated by another entity and has approved amount.

For 2012 and 2013, interest rate is 6.5 percent. Interest is equal to the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal on the first Monday in December of each year plus 3 percent rounded up to the nearest one-half percentage point. IV-D program will calculate interest on arrears accrued after July 1, 2002; otherwise, interest only added to IV-D program if a court has ordered the interest amount to be calculated by another entity and has approved amount.

For 2012 and 2013, interest rate is 6.5 percent. Interest is equal to the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal on the first Monday in December of each year plus 3 percent rounded up to the nearest one-half percentage point. IV-D program will calculate interest on arrears accrued after July 1, 2002; otherwise, interest only added to IV-D program if a court has ordered the interest amount to be calculated by another entity and has approved amount.

Ohio

The court shall assess interest on the amount of support an obligor failed to pay if the court determines the failure to be willful and the arrears accrued after July 15, 1992. Interest rate is equal to the federal short-term rate.

 

N/A

Interest can be assessed if the arrears have been reduced to judgment.

Oklahoma

10 percent per annum.

10 percent per annum.

Shall not exceed 10 percent annually.

Oregon

9 percent interest per annum, but only if a party requests and provides an accounting that includes a calculation of accrued interest.

9 percent interest per annum, but only if a party requests and provides an accounting that includes a calculation of accrued interest.

9 percent interest per annum, but only if a party requests and provides an accounting that includes a calculation of accrued interest.

Pennsylvania

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

Puerto Rico

Interest rate is determined by the Financial Institutions Commissioner at the rate applicable on the day the child support order was issued.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

Rhode Island

1 percent per month on unpaid balance.

1 percent per month on unpaid balance.

1 percent per month on unpaid balance.

South Carolina

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

 

No response available.

South Dakota

Obligee can initiate a court action to obtain a judgment for interest at court's discretion. If reduced to judgment, rate is 1 percent per month.

Obligee can initiate a court action to obtain a judgment for interest at court's discretion. If reduced to judgment, rate is 1 percent per month.

Obligee can initiate a court action to obtain a judgment for interest at court's discretion. If reduced to judgment, rate is 1 precent per month.

Tennessee

 

N/A

 

N/A

Interest rate equal to the federal reserve weekly average prime loan rate for the calendar week preceding the judgment, except the rate shall not exceed 10 percent.

Texas

6 percent simple interest per annum from the date support is delinquent.

6 percent simple interest per annum from the date order is rendered.

6 percent simple interest per annum from the date support is delinquent.

Utah

 

N/A

 

N/A

Federal post-judgment rate plus 2 percent. Rate changes each January.

Vermont

From July 1, 2004, 12 percent annually, whether adjudicated or not.*

 

N/A

From July 1, 2004, 12 percent annually, whether adjudicated or not.*

Virgin Islands

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

N/A

Virginia

From July 1, 2004, 6 percent annually on all arrearages greater than one month's support.*

From July 1, 2004, 6 percent annually.*

From July 1, 2004, 6 percent annually on all arrearages greater than one month's support.*

Washington

12 percent interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.

12 percent interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.

12 percent interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.

West Virginia

From July 1, 2008, 5 percent simple interest per annum.*

No pre-judgment interest is charged. Once the retroactive support becomes a judgment, interest is charged from the date of the order forward at 1 percent simple interest per annum.

From July 1, 2008, 5 percent simple interest per annum.*

Wisconsin

From Jan. 2014- Dec. 2015: 6 percent

Interest is charged on missed court-ordered periodic payments for retroactive child support.

From Jan. 2014- Dec. 2015: 6 percent

Wyoming

Discretionary by judge. May be a 10 percent penalty on current missed obligation payments. 10 percent interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.

10 percent interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.

10 percent interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.

Number of States

35

 

28

 

40

 

Interest rates for amounts accrued prior to this date may differ.
"No response available" indicates that a state did not provide a response.
"N/A" indicates that a response is not applicable because the state does not charge interest.

Source: Office of Child Support Enforcement; additional sources are cited and linked when available.

*PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization serving state legislators and their staff. We cannot offer legal advice or assistance with individual cases, but we do try to answer questions on general topics.

About This NCSL Project

NCSL staff in D.C. and Denver can provide comprehensive, thorough, and timely information on critical child support policy issues. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families. NCSL's online clearinghouse for state legislators includes resources on child support police, financing, laws, research and promicing practices. Technical assistance visits to states are available to any state legisalture that would like training or assistance related to this topic.  

The Denver-based child support project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Joy Johnson Wilson (joy.wilson@ncsl.org) and Rachel Morgan (rachel.morgan@ncsl.org) can be reached at (202) 624-5400.

The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.

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