When a tribunal is making a controlling order determination, an arrearage reconciliation calculation shall be conducted at the same time so that all arrears owed under all orders are reduced to judgment and collected through the controlling order.
When more than one order is in effect at a time, the total child support arrears is based upon the highest order in effect at the time – not the total of the orders in effect.
In order to calculate the arrears balance based upon multiple orders and determine to whom (e.g. the custodial parent and state) the arrears are owed, the federal OCSE developed an arrears calculator. The arrears calculator can be found on the federal OCSE web site at Dear Colleague Letter – 03-27 or by following this link http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2003/calculator/.
Below is a screen shot of the federal OCSE Arrears Calculator:
The calculator is an excel spreadsheet used to calculate the total arrears due across all cases. The case worker will need to provide basic order and interest information in order to use the spreadsheet.
Charging Order. The calculator calculates the arrears based upon the “charging order” (the order used in a particular month to calculate arrears – the highest order). The calculator converts all payments due into a monthly amount.
Interest Rate. The interest rate for the charging order is used to calculate the interest due and changes when the charging orders change. The interest is calculated on the child support only – not on interest previously charged or unpaid fees. Finally, the interest rate is charged on an annual basis. If the charging order changes during the year, the interest rate is an average of the respective rates and pro-rated by the number of months that each state’s order was the charging order.
Fees. Since states handle fees (e.g. attorney, genetic testing, service, etc.) in a variety of ways, the calculator does not calculate the fees paid and due. Rather, the case worker will enter the fees due and paid each year for each of the orders to be reconciled.
Payments. In order to reduce data entry, the payments are entered on an annual basis for each order. The calculator applies payments to current, arrears, interest, and fees.
Limitations. The following are limitations of the Federal CSE Office Arrears Calculator:
- The calculator is limited to 5 orders and 25 years worth of support.
- Since all orders are converted to a monthly amount, the total support owed may vary slightly – especially if a weekly or bi-weekly order ends before the end of a calendar year.
- Interest may be underestimated if a state charges interest on fees (the calculator does not) or unpaid interest.
Summary. The calculator generates a one-page summary sheet with the grand totals, and it allows a case worker to generate annual breakdowns of payments owed and made, arrears accrued, interest charged, and fees.
Wyo. Stat. §20-4-150 Credit for payments