Enforcing a Child Support Order

Enforcing a Child Support Order

Even after a divorce, both parents are expected to support their children emotionally and financially. Unfortunately, some parents refuse to fulfill their obligations, despite the court’s orders. If your co-parent failed to pay child support or regularly fails to pay on time or in full, you have legal options available to help you enforce the child support order.

Collecting Child Support in California

First, before you can enforce a child support order, you must have a valid one in place. If you and your former spouse only have a verbal agreement, you will not be able to enforce it in court. Your agreement must be approved by a judge to hold up in court.

If you have an established child support order, there are numerous ways in which the court can enforce it to ensure you receive the funds necessary for supporting your children. In California, the court can enforce a child support order by holding the noncustodial parent in contempt of court, which means the judge believes the non-compliant parent willfully disobeyed the child support order. As a result, your former spouse could be sent to jail and, in addition to having to pay the overdue child support, the court might also order him or her to pay a fine.

It is important to note that, in California, there is a statute of limitations for filing a contempt action against a delinquent parent. You have three years, beginning on the date a payment was due and missed, to file a contempt action against your co-parent. If your former spouse continues to miss payments, you must file for contempt every three years to ensure you remain eligible for all past-due child support.

Other Penalties for Non-Compliance with a Child Support Order

If the judge believes your former spouse willingly refused to comply with the child support order, several other penalties can be enforced.

Below are some additional penalties your delinquent co-parent might face:

  • A jail sentence of up to 5 days
  • A sentence of up to 120 hours of community service
  • An order to pay your attorney fees and other legal costs
  • An order to withhold wages to pay child support
  • An order to garnish money from bank accounts to pay past-due child support

Additionally, if your co-parent is more than 30 days behind on child support payments, the Department of Motor Vehicles can refuse to renew or issue his or her driver’s license.

Reach Out to a Child Support Attorney Today!

If your former spouse is behind on child support payments, reach out to the team at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff for the legal guidance you need to ensure the court order is enforced. Our attorney is backed by more than 35 years of legal experience.

Contact us today at (805) 633-4999 to schedule a free consultation.

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