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In Recent News / 5.27.2024

Are There Penalties For Unpaid Child Support in California?

Facing unpaid child support penalties in California? Learn the consequences of missed payments, including driver's license suspension, tax refunds withheld, and even jail time.

The Importance of Child Support in California

Child support is a court-ordered financial obligation that ensures a child's basic needs are met. It contributes to housing, food, clothing, healthcare, and education. In California, both parents are responsible for financially supporting their children, regardless of marital status or living arrangements.

Potential Penalties of Unpaid Child Support in California

Failure to meet your child support obligation can result in serious consequences. These penalties can be categorized as financial or legal:

Financial Penalties

  • Late Fees and Interest: The court may add penalties and interest to your outstanding balance, significantly increasing the total amount owed.
  • Wage Garnishment: Your wages can be directly garnished by your employer to ensure consistent payments towards your child support obligation.
  • Tax Refund Offset: The state can intercept your tax refund to recover unpaid child support.

Legal Penalties

  • Driver's License Suspension: California can suspend your driver's license until you make arrangements to repay the owed child support.
  • Passport Denial: Your ability to obtain or renew a passport may be restricted due to unpaid child support.
  • Contempt of Court: The court may find you in contempt, which could result in fines or even jail time.

Does Unpaid Child Support Affect Your Custody Arrangement?

While unpaid child support is a serious issue with significant consequences, it typically does not directly impact custody arrangements in California. If you have visitation rights granted by the custodial parent, though, they might be within their rights to refuse visitation until child support has been paid in full. 

It is, however, important to remember that each case is unique. If you have concerns about how unpaid child support might affect your custody arrangement, consulting with an experienced family law attorney is recommended. They can advise you on the specific laws in California and how they might apply to your situation.

What Should I Do If I Can't Pay Child Support?

If you've experienced a change in employment or financial hardship that prevents you from fulfilling your child support obligation, it's crucial to act immediately. Here's what you should do:

  • Contact the Child Support Services Department: Explain your situation and request a modification of your child support order. Be prepared to provide documentation supporting your financial hardship.
  • Seek Legal Counsel: An attorney can guide you through the process of modifying your child support order and ensure your rights are protected.

Recovering Unpaid Child Support

If you are the custodial parent owed child support, you have options to recover the missed payments:

  • Contact the Child Support Services Department: They can help you locate the other parent, establish a payment plan, and enforce the court order.
  • Hire an Attorney: An attorney can represent you in court to seek a judgment against the other parent for the unpaid child support, including legal fees.

Finding the Right Attorney for Your Case

When dealing with unpaid child support, legal representation is crucial. Stolar Law Group has extensive experience in family law, including child support enforcement. Our team can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and ensure your child receives the financial support they deserve.

Contact Stolar Law Today!

Our experienced attorneys can guide you through the legal process and help you achieve a positive outcome. Give Stolar Law Group a call or contact us online to schedule a consultation and discuss your child support concerns. 

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