In most states, unpaid child support and/or alimony (sometimes called maintenance) can accumulate interest. You might think about unpaid child support and alimony as a “loan”. When the person who owes the amount does not pay, the person who is supposed to receive the amount still has expenses that the child support or alimony is meant to help pay. Therefore the person who is supposed to receive the amount has to figure out how to get by. Sometimes this means borrowing from friends, family, or banks, perhaps not contributing to their 401k or doing without something. Because the unpaid debt can be considered a “loan” then you would think that they should pay interest on the unpaid amount. The issue is that in most states the application of interest is not a legal requirement, it is optional.
In Kansas specifically, the Kansas Payment Center (KPC) is typically responsible for the collection and distribution of child support. The KPC keeps track of payments made and obligations due. However, the KPC does not calculate the interest because it is not a statutory requirement to do so. That does not mean that interest on the unpaid amount cannot be calculated, it merely means that if you want to claim interest on the unpaid amount then you have to calculate how much the interest is and you have to go to court to ask for a judgment to apply the statutory interest.
The question is whether the interest is worth the work required to get the judgment to apply it. Some lawyers will take this on as a collection case, charging a contingent fee. This means that they try to collect the principal and interest and charge the person seeking the interest a fee, usually a percentage of what is collected. You can seek out a lawyer who will look at the case to see if this is a worthwhile endeavor. Alternately you can first calculate what the interest will be in your case from the comfort of your own home. Then if the interest looks to be an amount worth the effort of getting a court judgment, we recommend you then seek out legal counsel.
Not convinced? Here is an example:
Let’s say that one parent owes $300 per month for child support starting on Jan 1, 2010 and never pays anything up until July 1, 2019… i.e. 9+ years of paying nothing. The total principal due would be $34,200. The Kansas statutory interest due on this unpaid debt would be $8,610.02.
The ArrearsMaster® by ChildSupportTools.com can help you calculate what the interest is on unpaid child support and maintenance. For a small sum ($20) the program can help you enter the amounts and dates of all obligations due as well as all payments made. It makes it easy for Kansas residents by linking up to the Kansas Payment Center to import the payments. Then it uses the statutory interest to accurately calculate what the interest is in your case. There is even video help that guides you through the process.