The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) established the Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP) to:
  • Increase support collected for families.
  • Reduce unrecoverable government arrears owed by non-custodial parents.
Legislation

AB 1752 provided authority for the DCSS to establish the Compromise of Arrears Program, an arrears collection enhancement process in which DCSS may accept offers in compromise of arrears and interest owed as reimbursement for public assistance.

  • Any compromise must take into consideration the needs of the children subject to the child support order and the parent’s ability to pay.
  • If the parent owes current child support, he/she must be in compliance with the current support order for a set period of time before any arrears may be compromised.
  • Any compromise must be in the best interest of the state and must equal or exceed what the state can reasonably expect to collect toward the government arrears based on the parent’s ability to pay.
  • The program must operate uniformly statewide.
Program Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for COAP,

  • Arrears owed to the government.
  • No previous application to participate in COAP within one year prior to the date of application.
  • No rescission of a previous COAP agreement within two years.
  • No conviction or contempt finding for failure to pay child support within six months prior to the date of application.
  • No intentional failure to pay child support in anticipation of a compromise.
  • If the child support case is a two-state interstate case, the custodial parent must reside in California.
  • The parent does not have the ability to pay off all arrears owed, including interest, within three years from date of application.
  • The ability to pay current support, arrears owed to the family not owed to the government, and the amount agreed in the compromise within a three year period.
  • No concealment of any income, assets, or any reasonably anticipated income or assets, and no intentional withholding or falsifying of financial information.
Obtaining an Application

To determine if you qualify to apply for a Compromise of arrears, we recommend that you answer the questions on the COAP Wizard. If the COAP wizard indicates that you are eligible to apply, please feel free to download and print the COAP application.

Your completed COAP application with supporting financial documents should be mailed to:

Dept of Child Support Services
PO BOX 8084
Redwood City, CA 94063

You may email the documents to us at smcdcss@smcgov.org or fax to (650) 366-4711.

If you have any questions, please call our Customer Service Center toll free at (866) 901-3212 between the hours of 8:00am and 4:45pm.