Reduce my Debt

If you owe child support arrears to the government because your child received public assistance (“welfare” or foster care), you may qualify for one of California’s arrears reduction programs.

Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP)

COAP is a California program designed to help you reduce the child support debt you owe to the government. If you qualify for this program you will be allowed to pay off your debt for less than the full amount owed.

You may qualify for this program if:

  • You owe the government at least $501 in child support arrears
  • You have not stopped paying child support because of this program
  • You do not conceal or misrepresent your income or assets
  • You cannot pay all the child support and interest you owe within the next three years without a compromise
  • You can pay all child support arrears that may be owed to the custodial parent in a lump sum
  • You must pay current ongoing support, if you owe any
  • You have not been convicted or found in contempt for failure to pay child support in the last six months
  • You have not had a COAP agreement denied in the last year
  • You have not had a COAP agreement rescinded in the last two (2) years

Any reduction in your arrears will be based on your income, assets and expenses. If you hide or lie about information, or you do not make the payments after an agreement has been reached, the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will cancel the agreement and remove you from the COAP program.

In addition, you may qualify for increased compromise of child support arrears if:

  • You are or have been a Reservist or member of the National Guard
  • You were activated to military service
  • Your income was reduced due to the activation
  • Your delay or failure to modify your support order was reasonable under the circumstances
  • Your support order would have been reduced had you requested a modification timely
For more information:

See Compromise of Arrears Program Go to Contact Us Page

Compromise of Assigned Arrearages-Family Reunification (COAA-FR)

California has adopted the COAA-FR program to help bring parents and children placed in out-of-home care back together. This program allows the compromise of child support arrears owed to the government when a child who was placed in foster care, or with a relative caretaker or guardian, later returns to the home of a parent who was ordered to pay support.

You may qualify for this program if:

  • You are the parent of a child and you owe support debt to the government because your child received aid from one of the following while your child was not living with either parent:
    • Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC)
    • California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
    • Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment (KinGAP)
  • ONE of the following situations applies:
    • Your child was made a dependent of the court, placed in foster care, and the court later gave custody to you – OR –
    • Your child was voluntarily placed with a relative or guardian (not the other parent); and the child lived with you at some point in the past.
  • Your child is living with you now at least 50% of the time
  • Your child has not reached the age of majority (AOM) or emancipated
  • Your net disposable income (after taxes) is less than 250% of the federal poverty level and a compromise is necessary to help you support the child
  • You are following any reunification plan required by the county welfare department or the court
For more information:

Visit Family Law Facilitator Website Go to Contact Us Page

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