3 Steps to Take If Your Ex Stops Paying Child Support

In California, receiving financial support and care from parents is every child’s legal right. This right remains in force from the moment a child is born until they reach the age of 18 or 19 if still enrolled in high school. Both parents are obliged to provide such support whether they are married, divorced, or separated. If one parent refuses to comply with his or her obligation to provide for a child, the other parent can obtain a child support order from the court.

A child support order is often an important part of the divorce proceedings, but it can also be issued upon request of an unmarried parent. In any case, a child support order will define the amount of money the non-custodial parent needs to pay, as well as when and how often the funds should be provided.

The lack of financial support from one parent can in many ways adversely affect a child’s well-being. Therefore, if one parent refuses to provide child support in spite of a court order, the other parent has every right to employ all available legal means to enforce the order and collect overdue payments. In this article, we will briefly analyze 3 child support enforcement strategies in California.

  1. Filing a Motion for Contempt

Contempt of court means disobeying a court order. A custodial parent who is entitled to receive child support awarded by the means of a court order can file a motion for contempt if the other parent fails to comply with their child support obligations. If a judge finds that the parent is purposefully avoiding their obligation, they may order him or her to pay fines, sentence him or her to community service, or even place him or her in jail.

In addition to finding a delinquent parent in contempt of court, a judge may also employ a number of other measures that could serve both to penalize the parent’s misconduct and help ensure that child support arrears are paid. Some of such measures may include:

  • Placing a lien on the parent’s real property
  • Withholding the parent’s wages to pay child support
  • Ordering that the delinquent child support amount be paid from one of the parent’s benefits plant such as a pension plan or veteran’s disability benefits
  • Ordering that the delinquent child support amount be garnished and paid from the parent’s bank account
  1. Getting Help From a Local Government Child Support Agency

A custodial parent can get help with their child support case by contacting a local child support office. The office can help enforce a child support order free of charge by using a variety of legal tools. For example, California Child Support Services mentions the following enforcement actions they may take on behalf of the custodial parent:

  • Suspension of a delinquent parent’s driver’s license or passport
  • Revocation of professional and occupational licenses
  • Bank and property liens
  • Interception of tax refunds
  • Interception of lottery winnings
  1. Talk to a Lawyer About Your Enforcement Options

Enforcing your child support order effectively will require a certain degree of legal expertise. That’s why, if your child’s other parent fails to comply with a child support order, it is usually advisable to talk to an experienced family law attorney first. An attorney will thoroughly inform you about your rights and advise as to the most effective enforcement options available to you.

The Grey Legal Group are family law attorneys based in Murrieta, CA. We have a high success rate in enforcing child support orders and we will gladly assist you in your efforts to ensure your child’s financial well-being. If you’d like to discuss the details of your case in a confidential consultation, please give us a call.

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The Grey Legal Group, APC

At The Grey Legal Group, we take pride in getting to know our clients personally. Whether you’re going through a divorce, child custody issues, or problems enforcing divorce orders, you can feel confident in our knowledgeable, hands-on approach.

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