What Happens if Child Support Payments are not Made?

California considers it a priority that support payments be made by non-custodial parents.  Frequently, government agencies work together with the court to implement a child support withholding order to automatically take the child support payment from the parent’s paycheck in cases of non-payment.  If child support is in arrears, the assets of the payer can be seized to satisfy payments including but not limited to real estate, tax returns, and personal property.

Another option is to present to the court an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Contempt.  Contempt is a remedy to allow the court to compel adherence to its orders.  Contempt may be used in a family law proceeding except when its use violates the constitutional prohibition on imprisonment for debt.  If an individual has knowledge of a valid support order and ability to comply with the order, then that person can be held in contempt.  Failure to pay child support, to pay attorney fees and costs, as well as failure to convey community property can all be addressed by an action for contempt.  Each contempt count carries a potential $1,000 fine and 5 days imprisonment, while contempt of family law orders carry an additional 120 hours of community service or imprisonment for each count.  Likewise, a person held in contempt may be liable for attorney’s fees relating to the contempt proceeding.

These remedies for failure to pay support payments have many complex issues that are beyond the scope of this article.  If you are owed child support payments, contact an attorney at Sagaria Law today to schedule an initial consultation.