MDHS v. Reaves (Mississippi 2022)
A child support payment vests in the child, and once paid, is not reimbursable. The father was ordered to pay child support in the divorce decree. The father filed to modify custody, and child support was addressed in several orders throughout this proceeding. The final order addressing child support found the father was entitled to reimbursement by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) for overpaid support. MDHS appealed. The appellate court reversed the order to reimburse. Mississippi case law is settled that child support is for the benefit of the child and vests in child. Past-due payments can’t be modified or forgiven. A non-custodial parent isn’t entitled to reimbursement for vested payments paid pursuant to a valid court order. A trial court does have discretion to give the paying parent credit for the overpayment against support owed. The appellate court remanded this case for a determination of whether the father should receive such credit.