If you cannot afford to pay child support, you may decide to stop making these payments. However, the Massachusetts Child Support Enforcement Division may take steps to ensure that your ex-spouse receives these payments.
According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you may owe interest on child support once you begin to miss payments. The interest rate is usually .05% each month. Additionally, you may owe a penalty for past-due payments. The rate for this is also .05%.
When do you owe interest?
You may not have to pay interest and a penalty after missing one child support payment. Instead, the Child Support Enforcement Division considers how much money you currently owe. If you are behind on your child support payments by at least $500, then the CSED begins to add interest. The department usually adds these expenses at the end of the month if you have not made the minimum payment.
If you have more than one child support order, the CSED typically considers each case individually. If you owe $500 for one support order, for example, the department may begin to charge you interest. However, if you owe $200 for a different order, the department usually does not add interest.
Are there ever exemptions?
In some situations, you may qualify for an exemption from these interest payments. If you received your child support order in a different state, you may not need to pay interest. You may also receive an exemption if you are between jobs but are looking for new work. Additionally, you may not need to pay interest if you are unable to work because of a disability. In all of these situations, you typically need to provide documentation to demonstrate that you qualify for an exemption.
If you are having difficulty making child support payments, you should usually speak to your child support officer. This person can help you find a solution to the situation.