Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP)
COAP is a program for eligible noncustodial parents (NCPs) to reduce the past-due child support they owe to the government. This debt, called arrears, is owed to the government because the state supported the family while the dependent children in a child support case were on public assistance (welfare) or in foster care.
If you qualify for COAP you will be able to offer a compromise repayment to the state. In other words, you may offer to pay an amount that is less than the full amount you owe. Any reduction in your arrears and interest owed will be based on your income and assets.
A computer program helps determine the amount of repayment required and how much of the debt will be reduced. Each person’s child support case, or cases, is different. Arrears may be paid off all at once in a lump sum, or over time in a payment plan, depending upon the details of your case.
Any compromise agreement must take into consideration the needs of the children named in the child support order and the parent’s ability to pay. It must also be in the best interest of the state.
What COAP Doesn’t Do:
- Forgive the entire debt
- Change monthly child support obligations
- Compromise arrears owed to the Custodial Party
- Compromise spousal support arrears
- Don’t stop paying on current child support because you are applying for COAP. This is grounds for a denial of your application, and disqualifies you to reapply for COAP for one year.
- You must provide complete information and documents with your application. Your application cannot be finalized for an agreement until you have done this.
- Be honest on your application. If you do not tell the truth on your application, or if you hide income or assets, your application will be denied and you will be ineligible to reapply for COAP for one year.
- Make your COAP payments as agreed. If you do not make the payments after an agreement has been reached, your agreement will be canceled and you will owe the balance (unpaid amount) of what was compromised to the state again. This is called a rescission. If your agreement is rescinded you will be unable to reapply for COAP for two years.
- Pay your current child support orders. If you miss any current child support payments your agreement will be rescinded. You will owe the full amount of your pre-agreement arrears and will not receive a refund for any payments made. If your agreement is rescinded you will be unable to reapply for COAP for two years.
How to Apply:
Your Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) has staff that will be your partner, providing guidance throughout the application process.
Call or visit your LCSA and ask for an application and return by mail or in person.