How is Child Support Enforced?
You have been awarded child support in California, now what? Or, you have been receiving child support but payments stopped, now what? So many parents depend on the financial support they receive through these court-ordered payments, so it is important that child support orders are enforced.
When Does Child Support in California Need to be Enforced?
Courts often enter orders that require one parent to pay another parent money for the care of a child they share. When an order is issued, enforcement is immediate. The order is sent to the appropriate agency, and an account is created for the issuance of child support. The government agency will usually enforce the child support order through wage garnishment. The money is directly taken from the supporting parent's wages and automatically sent to the parent receiving support. Some states send checks while others deposit it directly into bank accounts or provide debit cards.
When wages are not garnished, payments become a little harder to enforce. Some states may allow the supporting parent to pay the other parent directly. When the supporting parent fails to pay as ordered, the parent receiving the money is often left struggling to provide for their child. It is in this situation where we often find clients needing to have an order for child support enforced.
There is one misconception, however, and that involves instances where no child support order exists. Parents sometimes make arrangements among themselves, outside the court system, where they agree that one parent will pay the other parent a certain amount of money. When this happens, there is generally no way for the parent receiving the support to have the agreement made between the parties enforced. Instead, they will need to have a support order entered by the court.
Ways Child Support is Enforced in California?
Child support can be enforced in multiple ways. As mentioned, in most jurisdictions, you likely do not have to take any action as the state or county in which you live will enforce the obligation on your behalf. Typically, this enforcement is through wage garnishment.
When wage garnishment is not available, there are other options. For example, the government agency can pursue tax offsets, can seize assets, or even deny a passport. In some states, it's a crime not to pay child support, and the supporting parent could face arrest and subsequent charges. These are all attempts to deter failure to pay and to punish when they fail to pay.
To find out how your jurisdiction specifically goes about enforcing child support, especially when the supporting parent has failed to pay and are in arrears, contact our Orange County child support attorney.
How Is Child Support Enforced across State Borders?
Enforcing child support orders in other states has, in the past, created significant difficulties for parents not receiving the support they need. Because of this, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) was enacted to allow states to enforce child support orders entered by other states. UIFSA limits the ability of states to modify an existing child support order while allowing them to enforce that order.
How Can a Child Support Lawyer in CaliforniaHelp You Get Child Support?
To be clear, you do not need a lawyer to help you enforce a child support order. You can contact your local government agency where the child support case has been established. Many parents, however, find the whole process intimidating and so we are here to help. Often, we have already been providing legal representation–clients come to us for representation in a divorce or to help file a petition for child support and child custody.
As your child support lawyer, we provide thorough, competent representation. We ensure the implementation of the child support order. If a parent fails to pay, we can file a motion with the court to enforce payment. We can also try to contact and work with the supporting parent to persuade them to restart payments promptly. Also, when it benefits you and the child, we can file a motion to modify the child support. It is all very case-specific. The key is providing the right representation you need for your unique situation.
If you need a child support order enforced, take action today. It is in your child's best interests. At Giammichele Law, APC, our family law lawyer will guide you through the process.
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