Los Angeles Child Support Enforcement Lawyers
Helping Clients Across California Deal With Another’s Failure to Pay Child Support
Parents are required to pay child support in accordance with divorce or child custody court orders. Unfortunately, not every parent sticks by their obligations. If your ex or co-parent refuses to pay the child support they owe, you have options. The Claremont child custody and family law attorneys at Blasser Law are ready to help.
At Blasser Law, our child support legal team has years of experience helping parents fight for their rights. We help parents and children secure their court-ordered financial support. Call our Claremont child support and divorce legal team today for advice and assistance in pursuing enforcement of your child support order.
Enforcing a Child Support Order
The right to collect child support, and the obligation to pay child support, are established via court order. You can seek a court order for child support as part of a divorce, as part of a custody dispute, or as a standalone matter. Once the court orders a party to pay child support, they are obligated to do so.
If your child’s other parent refuses to pay the child support they owe, you have options. With the help of your family law attorney, you can seek an order from the family court enforcing the child support order. If the parent still fails to pay, you can seek a motion for “contempt.” The court will hold someone in contempt of court when they have willfully disobeyed a court order. Contempt of court can come with civil or even criminal penalties. The court can even send a parent held in contempt to jail for failure to pay, although they will be released as soon as they pay.
A motion for contempt must be filed within a certain timeframe following the missed payment. If a party entitled to child support waits more than three years after the date payment was due and missed, they could forfeit their right to collect. Make sure to discuss your legal rights and your options with your attorney to protect yourself and your family.
Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support
Once you’ve filed your motion for contempt, the court will hold a hearing. If the court finds the parent deliberately failed to pay what they owe, the court can hold them in contempt. Once the court has held a delinquent party in contempt, they can subject the party to a number of penalties, including:
- Order payment plus additional fines and interest
- Sentence the delinquent parent to jail time, including a lengthier sentence for criminal contempt (typically reserved for when the parent owes a large amount and is severely behind on payments)
- Sentence the parent to community service, up to several hundred hours depending on how many times they’ve been held in contempt
- Order the delinquent party’s wages to be garnished (withheld) to pay support
- Order the party’s property to be sold to pay support
- Place a lien on the property of the delinquent party
- Revoke the delinquent party’s passport
- Order the overdue support to be taken from a pension plan, disability benefits, or other assets and sources of income
- Modify the delinquent party’s parental rights
What Not to Do if Your Ex Refuses to Pay: Self-Help Enforcement
If your ex fails to pay the child support they owe, it’s important for you to go through the proper channels for enforcement. Talk to your ex, if safe and appropriate, about paying what they owe. If they still refuse to pay, consult with your lawyer, who will help you seek enforcement from the family court. Do not take matters into your own hands.
Many people think that they have the right to withhold child custody and parenting time if the other parent fails to pay their court-ordered child support or alimony. While the court may penalize the parent for violating the court’s order, that’s for the court to decide; it’s not up to you. If you refuse to let your ex access their court-ordered parenting time, you are now in violation of the court’s order as well. You can be subject to similar penalties, including fines, loss of parental rights, and even criminal sanctions. Consult with your California family law attorney to discuss your options, and make sure you stay within the bounds of the court’s orders and the law.
If you are fighting to collect the child support or alimony you are owed, if you are facing divorce with children, or if you are dealing with other child custody or family law matters, our southern California child support lawyers are ready to help. For a consultation on your child custody dispute, parenting time negotiation, divorce, or annulment, contact a diligent and successful Claremont child support attorney at Blasser Law for a consultation at 877-927-2181.