Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Case Law Development: Courts May Not Enjoin Parents From Collecting on Child Support Arrearage Judgments

The Alabama Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's order in a child support modification case in which the trial court had set a repayment schedule for child support arrearages and had then ordered that mother could not pursue any other enforcement actions so long as father was making the court ordered payments.  The court of appeals noted that such a restriction on the mother's private collection efforts was in error, especially given the paucity of the repayment schedule the court had ordered. As the court observed:

... the trial court determined that the father owed accrued arrearages in the amount of $45,141.51, plus interest.... if the father were able to make only monthly $100 installment payments to reduce the owed arrearages, he would be paying those installments for over 37 years; that computation does not include the additional interest that will accrue during the repayment period, and the father will therefore most likely never be able to retire the total amount of the arrearages during his lifetime. In addition, the trial court also modified the divorce judgment to relieve the father from maintaining a life-insurance policy to benefit the parties' children in the event of his death before they reach the age of majority.

The court reversed, directing the trial court to remove the restriction on mother's ability to seek to collect on the arrearage judgment through standard debt-collection processes.

Leopold v. Leopold, 2006 Ala. Civ. App. LEXIS 631 (October 20, 2006 bgf)

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