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What are the Consequences of Unpaid Child Support in California?

Posted on May 1st, 2022

At the Harris Family Law Group, our child support attorneys in Los Angeles know that no matter which side of the financial agreement you are on — whether you are the payer or recipient — missed child support payments can create hardships for both parents.

The recipient may struggle financially when he or she is counting on payment to help support the child’s household, and the payer may face significant financial and legal consequences for not paying.

Here is what California parents need to know about the consequences of unpaid child support.

How Are Child Support Payments Enforced in California?

When one parent is required to pay child support after a divorce or the end of their relationship with the other parent, there are multiple ways the California Department of Child Support Services may enforce missed back payments.

That may include:

  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Suspension of professional licenses
  • Mandatory wage withholding
  • Reporting to credit bureaus, which in turn affects their credit score
  • Interception of tax refunds, partial disability benefits, and/or workers’ compensation awards
  • Property lien on any personal and/or real property, including homes, bank accounts, and retirement funds

In addition, the payer’s passport application or validity can be denied until the balance comes current. This can impact immigration status, or a person’s ability to travel.

How Can I Get My California Child Support Payment Amount Modified?

If you have lost your job or experienced significant financial changes, you could be eligible to have your child support payments modified to a more reasonable amount. However, you cannot make that determination on your own.

If there is a child support order in place, you must go before the court to ask for a modification. You must submit all the evidence that supports your application for reduced payments, and the judge will rule accordingly.

It is also important to note that the parent who receives child support cannot withhold visitation from the payer because he or she is behind on child support payments. If there is a child custody order in place, it must be followed — no matter if the other parent is in arrears.

Contact Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Los Angles, California Today

If you would like to learn more about your eligibility to modify your child support payments, or your child custody agreement, contact the Harris Family Law Group today.

We can help you get started by scheduling a free consultation with our skilled Los Angeles family law attorney today by calling (310) 745-8644.