WHEN AN NCP PAID AHEAD IN CHILD SUPPORT?
It’s a common practice to confirm in a court order that an NCP is behind in child support arrears. For example: “Dad owes mom $1000 in back support arrears as of yesterday.” But what about confirming that the NCP is paid ahead? For example: “Dad is paid ahead $1000 in child support as of today.”
Sometimes, parties agree to write that an NCP owes $0 in arrears when the NCP is paid ahead. While technically true, this kind of acknowledgement that a parent owes $0 because they’re paid ahead has its negative consequences. Without confirming that in addition to owing $0 in arrears, the NCP is actually also paid ahead a certain amount, the NCP may have unknowingly treated all his future payments as a “gift” to the CP. Be careful!
Related, when an NCP is paid too far ahead it may look like his support obligation amount is set too low because it seems he can afford more than the ordered child support payment amount; and maybe he can and his support amount should increase based on his earnings. But I’ve discovered some NCPs find themselves having paid many months ahead due to no fault of their own and not because they make more money. Being paid ahead may possibly be due to an employer garnishment gone wrong or he accidentally started paying earlier than his order said he was to start. But regardless of how it happened, paying ahead can have unforeseen consequences that no party could have imagined.