How to Enforce Child Support Orders

Whenever children are involved in a California divorce, part of the finalized divorce will include the provision of child support. Typically, the noncustodial parent pays the custodial parent support for the child’s basic needs and expenses, but what happens when the parent who is supposed to be paying support fails to do so? The experienced divorce attorneys at Kearney Baker have helped many clients around the Pasadena area enforce child support orders and can explain all your legal options. To learn more, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Contempt of Court

The first way to enforce a child support order in California is to hold the parent in arrears in contempt of court. The judge can issue fines and even send the parent to jail until the support payments are made. Holding a parent in contempt is usually reserved for situations where a parent is willfully disobeying the order of support.

Wage Garnishment

Another option to enforce child support is to enact a wage garnishment, which is also known as income withdrawal. The court issues an order to the parent’s employer that requires the employer to set aside a certain portion of each paycheck and send it directly to the parent owed support. This applies to many different types of income, including wages, salaries, pension plans, veteran’s benefits, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, lottery winnings, and more.

Liens and Property Seizure

A parent that is owed child support can also petition the court to place liens on the real estate and personal property of the parent in arrears. Property with a lien requires that the lien be paid off first before the seller can profit from the sale and can last up to 20 years on property before it needs to be renewed. Child support enforcement can also occur through property seizure and sale by the sheriff’s office. With some exceptions, like the primary home and vehicle, real estate and personal property can be taken and sold in order to cover the amount of child support owed, and the proceeds are given directly to the parent who needs it.

Other Penalties

California provides other penalties that may be enacted by a parent in order to enforce a child support order. A delinquent parent may be refused when trying to renew or get issued a driver’s license. A current driver’s license may also be revoked if the payments fall too far behind. Credit agencies can also be informed, and that parent’s credit score can be negatively affected. The court can also order that a parent in arrears serve community service up to 240 hours for subsequent violations of a child support order.

Call or Contact Our Office

Do you need assistance with enforcing a child support order in California or would like to learn more about your legal options? If so, call the office or contact us today at Kearney Baker to schedule your consultation.