What is arrearage?

An arrearage exists when a parent or a former spouse has failed to pay his or her alimony or support obligation. The arrearage is the difference between what the parent should have paid and actually did pay. That arrearage amount is subject to the court enforcing its order through either a motion for contempt or a motion for enforcement. Any arrearage needs to be paid back to the recipient spouse as long as that spouse or parent seeks an enforcement.