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Can I Get Reimbursed for Child Support Overpayments?

by | Apr 3, 2024 | child custody, Family Law | 0 comments

The topic of child support can be challenging. Whether after a divorce or a couple who never married, it is not uncommon for the parties to struggle to amicably decide on a fair payment. But what if you overpay?

If you have unintentionally overpaid your child support obligation, you may wonder whether or not you can receive a reimbursement.

Whether or not you’ll be reimbursed for paying too much in child support will depend on a few factors and the circumstances surrounding the overpayment.

If you do qualify for credit or reimbursement, you will not be automatically compensated. Instead, you need to have evidence that you overpaid funds. From there, you’ll need to file a motion in court, and in some cases, you’ll need to pursue a lawsuit against the person who received the funds.

If you need help navigating child support remittance and reimbursements, contact the child custody lawyers at Zentz & Roberts Attorneys at Law by calling 317-220-6056. Enlisting the services of an attorney, who focuses in divorce and family law matters, and is well-versed in the specific laws involved will increase your chances of being reimbursed.

Overpayment of Child Support

You may have accidentally paid too much child support for a few different reasons.

First, it may have been a logistical oversight that caused you to send too much child support.

For instance, suppose that a paying party distributes funds through an Income Withholding Order (IWO). The court support order instructs the obligor’s employer to withhold a portion of their wages. The state agency child support disbursement unit then allocates the funds to the parent who has primary custody. They also garnish the payer’s tax return. In some states, these private agencies are monitored by the Attorney General.

Wage garnishments are automatic, so if the employer garnishes too much, the paying parent will not be aware of the child support overpayment until after the funds have already been distributed.

This mistake often occurs due to miscommunications with the child support disbursement unit. For instance, you might pay the mother or father of your child directly after receiving approval from the court. You might do this through a bank transfer, check, or even cash. The child support disbursement unit will not be aware of this direct payment method unless you and your co-parent inform them about the arrangement. If they’re unaware of your direct payment, they may garnish too much of your wages or tax return, resulting in overpaid child support.

In addition to this oversight, an overpayment may be modification-based. A paying parent may overpay due to a modification of child support or custody. For instance, a minor child may have a change in custodial parents. The custody transfer between parties may occur before the child support disbursement unit processes the change in child support. If a father pays child support to a mother, the child support order will need to change if he now has custody.

It may take weeks or even months for the child support disbursement unit to halt the wage garnishment against the father, resulting in him paying the mother child support despite her no longer having custody.

Can I Receive Compensation For Overpayments If I Have Arrears?

reimbursementYou will not receive reimbursement for overpayments if you have child support arrears. If you fell behind on child support payments, you won’t be able to receive compensation for any overpayments because you haven’t paid off your accrued debt.

For example, suppose a man struggles with paying child support to his ex-wife. He was able to pay court-ordered support for a period but now struggles financially due to a change in employment. The man will continue owing each time he can’t make a full child support payment, and the amount he owes may accrue additional interest and penalties over time.

The paying parent is entitled to file a motion in court to try and reduce child support payments because of his new employment status, but he’ll still owe the missed and limited support.

If after the divorce the ex-husband can start making payments, any excess amount that he pays every month will go toward paying off that debt. He won’t be entitled to reimbursement because he still owed support per the court order.

How Can I Check Whether I Made a Child Support Overpayment in Indiana?

What states require as a means of checking whether you’ve overpaid varies from state to state. Most states have some sort of clearinghouse where you can check your statements. There may also be an audit performed of your statements.

If you pay support and suspect that you’ve accidentally overpaid in Indiana, you can check your past five payments online here. When reviewing these payments from previous months, you can determine whether or not you were sufficiently credited for your past child support contributions.

If you notice a discrepancy between your official child support payments and what you actually paid, you’ll need to retain proof that you overpaid, such as bank statements, fund transfers, check stubs, or other financial documentation.

If you are on child support enforcement, social services or the child support agency you are working with will be able to check for overpayment.

Will I Be Reimbursed for Child Support Overpayments?

Whether or not you’ll be able to receive a child support reimbursement will depend on your unique situation. If you overpaid due to an incorrect wage garnishment or an erroneous payment, you’ll likely recover reimbursement if you have sufficient proof.

It’s important to note that the court will not automatically reimburse your money if you end up overpaying. For instance, when your child reaches the age of 19 and is out of school, they become emancipated and you’re no longer required to send child support. That said, you need to file a petition in court to end the payments when the child reaches this age and finishes school. Otherwise, you’ll continue paying more child support.

You can eventually recoup these funds by filing a motion, but if you continue making payments, the court will consider the support gifts to the other party or parties.

You’ll greatly increase your likelihood of having your money refunded if you provide plenty of evidence, but you should still consult with a family law attorney to learn more about recovering the overpaid child support. They’ll also ensure your motion is filed correctly and provide the necessary documentation. Finally, they can represent you in court if you need to pursue a lawsuit against the parent who received overpayments.

What Are My Options If I Overpaid Child Support Payments?

If you’ve overpaid child support, your options will depend on whether you have an ongoing support obligation or if your obligation is complete.

Ongoing Support Obligation

Can I get reimbursed for child support over payments You likely have an ongoing support obligation if your child is still a minor and you don’t have primary custody.

If you’re able to prove that you overpaid child support in court, you have two options:

  • You can receive the money that you overpaid
  • You can apply the money to future payments

If you discover that you’ve overpaid $1,000, you can choose to receive the money as a child support reimbursement. Alternatively, you can apply the money to future child support payments. For example, if you pay $500 a month for your child, you can spread out that $1,000 overpayment over ten months. You’ll reduce your monthly payment to $400 for the next ten months because you already paid the money.

Terminated Support Obligation

If your children are already at least 19 or legally emancipated, you’re no longer required to make ongoing child support payments. Rather than recovering overpayments to credit future payments, you’ll enter a lawsuit against the person who received the overpaid support to recover the money.

It’s important to note that you can only pursue this lawsuit if you don’t have arrears. If you have back support payments that are owed, you won’t be able to recover compensation for any overpayments that you made.

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit, it’s best to start filing as soon as possible after your support obligation terminates, and you should work with a family attorney.

Contact a Child Support Overpayment Attorney Today

If you need assistance recovering child support overpayments, contact an Indiana family law attorney. Here at Zentz & Roberts P.C., our experienced lawyers are knowledgeable in family law matters and can help with child support disputes and other aspects of child custody cases.

We know that divorce and co-parenting can be incredibly difficult for both children and their parents. We’ll support you through the legal process, help you resolve the conflict, and remedy issues regarding overpayments and disputes as you pay child support.

You can request a free initial consultation with one of our skilled Indianapolis family attorneys today by filling out this online form, or you can call us at 317-220-6056. 

***Please note: This page is not intended to give specific legal advice but is meant for information purposes only. Contact us to discuss your case***