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Failing to Pay Child Support in California Can Have Serious Consequences

Failing to Pay Child Support in California Can Have Serious ConsequencesUnder federal and state law, both parents have a legal duty to provide financial support for their children. This doesn’t change when the parents separate or get divorced. In California, one or both parents may be ordered to pay child support.

Child support is ongoing payments to help pay for a child’s living and medical expenses until they are adults. The amount of child support paid is determined by the Child Support Commissioner or Family Law Judge. It is based on a review of both parents’ monthly income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

All income is considered, including:

  • Job wages
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Social Security or pensions
  • Lottery winnings
  • Royalties
  • Independent contractor income
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Income from rental properties and other commercial properties
  • Disability and worker’s compensation payments
  • Department of Veteran Affairs disability payments
  • Interest
  • Dividends

Income can include money, property, and services.

Once the court issues a child support order, the parent named in the order must begin making payments to the other parent. The order also states the date child support payments start.

Penalties for Failing to Make Child Support Payments

Failing to make court-ordered child support payments, or falling behind in payments can have serious consequences. The courts can:

  • Put a lien on all real property and bank accounts that person owns in California;
  • Intercept any tax refunds, unemployment, disability, or worker’s compensation benefits;
  • Suspend any licenses, including driver’s, business, commercial, and other professional licenses; and
  • Enforce the support through other legal means available to the local child support agency.

If the court finds that a parent has the ability to pay child support but chooses not to, that parent can be held in contempt of court. Being found in contempt of court often comes with jail time and fines.

Have You Fallen Behind in Your Child Support Payments?

There are many reasons why a parent may be unable to make their child support payments, such as the loss of a job or a medical emergency. If you have found yourself falling behind in child support payments due to circumstances beyond your control, it’s important to speak to a family law lawyer. Don’t ignore the problem, or try to work out an arrangement with your ex-spouse. They may be sympathetic to your financial difficulties, but child support is ordered by the court and only they can approve modifications in the amount of child support paid.

Torrence L Howell is a family law lawyer in Ontario, CA who has represented many clients who have found themselves facing legal troubles for failing to make child support payments. In many instances, it is possible to convince a judge to modify a child support order. Torrence can help you gather the evidence you’ll need to support your claim and represent you in court. Don’t delay seeking legal assistance – you could be facing jail time, hefty fines, and other penalties for failing to pay child support.

Speak to a Leading Family Law Lawyer in Ontario, CA

If you need to modify the amount of child or spousal support you’ve been ordered to pay, contact the law offices of Torrence L. Howell through our website, or call us at (909) 920-0908 to schedule a free, initial consultation with a leading Ontario, CA family law lawyer.


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My ex-wife hired an attorney which prompted me to do so for our divorce. Torrence Howell was highly recommended from a friend of mine who used Torrence’s services for a divorce just like mine. The results came out much better than he ever thought it would. With all things being equal I felt Torrence would

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