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Failure to pay child support can have consequences

When parents file for divorce, they still have a responsibility to support their children both emotionally and financially. California uses the income shares model of determining child support, meaning both parents’ income is factored into the child support payment. Children are entitled to receive the same amount of financial support that they would have if their parents would have stayed together. Yet, when one parent fails to make their court-ordered child support payment, there can be severe consequences. Not only is it a federal law to stay on top of child support payments, but it is California state law as well. 

The consequences of not paying child support vary depending on how many payments have been missed and whether it is a recurring problem. Some enforcement actions include the following:

  • Driver’s license suspension

  • Professional license and recreational license suspension

  • Interception of income tax refunds

  • Seizure of bank account contents

  • Repossession or a lien placed on property

  • Garnished wages

If the past-due child support reaches $2,500, non-payers will not be able to receive or renew a passport. Severe child support delinquency may cause the non-payer to become in contempt of the court. He or she may be ordered to serve jail time in addition to paying the other parents’ court costs. Refusing to pay child support can also affect one’s credit score. If circumstances have changed and people are no longer financially able to make their child support payments, they may want to file for a modification of child support orders. 

 

 

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