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Some states charge interest on past due child support obligations. Interest can be applied to unpaid support at the rate set by state statute. In the relevant states, judgment interest generally is determined in child support matters in the same way it is in other civil judgments. States that charge interest typically begin its accrual on the day the relevant child support payment becomes due and unpaid (Darling v. Gosselin, 589 N.W.2d 192 (N.D. 1999)).

A state's decision to award interest rests on important public policy considerations. Many states believe that the award of interest encourages obligors to make their child support payments on time. Interest also provides the child a measure of compensation for his or her loss caused by the tardiness of the child support payments. For instance, in Adams v. Adams, (591 So. 2d 430 (Miss. 1992)), the court reasoned that

The use of one's money by another has value in economic theory and in fact. In our society, this use is frequently compensated by the charging of interest, such charges being imposed variously under the authority of public and privately made law. Charges made on the use of one's money or forbearance to collect a debt are called interest. The economic value of a supporting spouse's use of a child's money, or forbearance to pay for whatever reason, is real and should be compensated via interest. When a supporting spouse fails to timely make child support payments he or she uses the child's money. (Id., quoting Brand v. Brand, 482 So. 2d 236 (Miss. 1986).)

Numerous courts have upheld the concept of interest being due for unpaid child support (see, e.g., Brown v. Brown, 983 P.2d 1264 (Alaska 1999); Michigan v. Law, 459 Mich. 419, 591 N.W.2d 20 (1999); Baranyk v. McDowell, 589 N.W.2d 192 (N.D.1989); Johnson v. Johnson, 965 S.W.2d 943 (Mo. Ct. App. 1998); Baird v. Lanning, 843 S.W.2d 388 (Mo. Ct. App. 1992); Darling v. Gosselin, 589 N.W.2d 192 (N.D. 1999); Carter v. Carter, 479 S.E.2d 681 (W. Va. 1996)). In Lauderback v. Wadsworth, for example, the court clearly stated that alimony and child support installments are judgments for money, which accrue, along with interest imposed by statute, from the date the payments are due (Lauderback v. Wadsworth, 416 S.E.2d 62 (W. Va. 1992)).

State Code Sections Interest Rate
Alabama Ala. Code § 8-8-10 12%
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 25.27.020(a)(2)(B) 6%
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §44-1201(A) 10%
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. § 9-14-233(a) 10%
California Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 685.010(a) 10%

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-14-10 (interest)
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 5-12-101 (rate of interest)

4% greater than the statutory rate, or 8% if none set
Connecticut none none
Delaware none none
District of Columbia D.C. Code Ann. § 30-504 and § 28-3302(c) none set
Florida none none
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 19-11-7(e) "the legal rate"
Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. § 478-3 10%
Idaho Idaho Code Ann. § 28-22-104 5% plus base rate
Illinois 735 ILCS 5/12-109
735 ILCS 5/2-1303
Indiana Ind. Code Ann. § 31-6-6.1-35.5 1.5% per month
Iowa Iowa Code Ann. § 535.3(2) 10%
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 16-204(e)(2) 12%
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. § 360.040 12%
Louisiana La. Civil Code Ann. art. 2000 and art. 2024, La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 1921 varies from year to year
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 1602-A


Maryland Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 11-107(a) 10%
Massachusetts Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 231, § 6H varies
Michigan 1995 Mich. Public Acts 141 no interest, but annual surcharge of 8% for all past due payments
Minnesota Minn. Stat. Ann. § 518.585 varies
Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 75-17-7 set by judge after hearing
Missouri Mo. Ann. Stat. § 454.520 1% per month
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 25-9-205 and Rule 31 no provision to collect on child support arrearages
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 125B.095 10%
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 99.040 equal to prime rate at largest bank in Nev., plus 2%
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 336:1 10%
New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:17-56-20 "within amounts specified by the Federal Dept. of Health and Human Services"
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. § 40-4-7.3 and § 56-8-4 8¾%
New York N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. 5003 and 5004 9%
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. § 24-5(b) "legal rate"
North Dakota N.D. Cert. Code § 28-20-34 12%
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1343.03(a) 10%
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 43, § 114 10%
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 82.010 9%
Pennsylvania Pa. Stat. Ann. § 8101 "at lawful rate"
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-21-8 12%
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 34-31-20(B) 14%
South Dakota S.D. Codified Laws § 25-7A-14 and § 54-3-16 1% per month
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-14-121


Texas Texas Fam. Code Ann. §§ 157.261 and 157.265 12%
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 15-1-4 "at federal post judgment interest rate, plus 2%"
Vermont Vt. Rules of Appellate Procedure Rule 37 "interest allowed shall be computed by clerk of the superior or district ct."
Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 20-78.2 "interest rate as established by § 6.1-330.54"
Washington Wash. Rev. Code § 4.56.110(2) 12%
West Virginia W. Va. Code § 56-6-31 10%
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. Ann. § 767.51(5p) 1% per month
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 1-16-103 10%

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