What can I do if child support is not being paid?

Asked over 2 years ago - Daly City, CA

my ex was instructed to pay child support (including 2 months backpay), plus mandatory additional support for 50/50 childcare. He has only paid the childcare payments (as he has been prior to court hearing), but has not contributed any money for the actual child support because of poor advice he has received from friends and the hopes of having the amount 'modified'. I have contacted the child support services department and applied for "enforcement", but this takes up to 6 months to process. I am trying my best to be as calm and patient as possible without adding fuel to the fire, but I am scraping by and the kids are barely fit their clothes anymore. is there anything else i can do? Is there anywhere i can go to report him?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Rebekah Ryan Main

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . You can try reporting him to the District Attorney in your county for criminal non-support.
    Not paying child support can have very serious consequences.
    If the court finds that someone has the ability to pay support but is willfully not paying it, it can find that the person ordered to pay support is in contempt of court. This enforcement tool is generally used only when all others have failed because it can result in jail time for the person who is not paying.
    If a parent is late or fails to pay court ordered support payments, the county Local Child Support Agency can do one or more of these to collect support:
    • Credit reporting: not paying child support on time can affect a person’s credit rating. The county Local Child Support Agency will report each child support payment to major credit reporting agencies. They also report the failure to pay child support.
    • Passport Denial: anytime a person owes more than $5,000 in past due child support, the U.S. State Department will not issue or renew a passport until all past due support payments (also called “arrears”) are paid. If your passport application is denied, you will have to make arrangements with the Department of Child Support to make your child support current before traveling outside the United States.
    • Property liens: LCSA will file a lien against the real property (like a house or land) of a parent who owes past due support. When the property is sold, past due support may be paid out of the proceeds for the property.
    • Suspending licenses: LCSA can request that permanent, state-issued licensed be suspended or withheld to collect past due child support. The State Licensing Match System is used to match parents who owe child support with business, professional, and driver’s licenses. These licenses include cosmetologists, contractors, doctors, teachers, lawyers, and more.
    • Franchise Tax Board Child Support Collection Program: the county Local Child Support Agency must let the Franchise Tax Board know anytime a person is more than $100 and 60 days past due in paying support. The Franchise Tax Board can take funds from bank accounts, rental incomes, royalties, dividends, and commissions. The Franchise Tax Board can also issue an Earnings Withholding Order and take real and personal property, such as vacant land, cash, safe deposit boxes, vehicles, and even boats, to collect child support.
    • Income tax intercepts: The Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board can also intercept tax refunds to pay past due child support.
    • Financial Institution Data Match: many banks, savings and loan institutions, and credit unions in California and the United States report the assets they hold. These assets can be taken for payment of current and past due child support.
    • Disability Insurance Benefit Intercept System: LCSA can take part of state disability payments owed to parents who owe child support to pay both current and past due child support.
    • Unemployment Insurance Benefit Intercept System: part of state unemployment benefit payments due to the noncustodial parent can be taken to pay both current and past due child support.
    • Worker’s compensation appeals board match system: lump sum workers’ compensation awards can be taken to pay past due child support.
    • Lottery intercept: lottery winnings can be taken to pay both current and past due child support.
    Talk with an attorney about your options.

    Best of luck to you.

    If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Good Answer" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

    This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.

    This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not... more
  2. John Noah Kitta

    Contributor Level 19

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . Our office has maintained a family law practice in Bay Area counties for the past 31 years. I have represented several thousand of individuals in family law matters.

    Your ex's wages can be attached, bank accounts can be seized, vehicles can be taken and sold by the Sheriff and/or you can place a lien on any real property he owns. There are quite a number of remedies, it is just a matter of what your ex has and where he works.

    I hope this is helpful.

    If our office can be of any legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (510) 797-7990.

    Sincerely,
    JOHN N. KITTA

    This participating Attorney does not warrant any information provided, nor are we creating an Attorney-Client... more
  3. James D. Madden

    Contributor Level 9

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . Absolutely you have options at your disposal. First of all, if he works, you may apply for a wage assignment wherein his employer will automatically mail the check to the state who, in turn will mail it to you--no questions asked and never late. If he is not a regular wage earner, you may have to go to the next step, which you would need to do in the first instance as well. The next step is to file a motion for contempt for failing to obey the court order--i.e., payment of child support. The process is a bit cumbersome but can be done with the help of legal assistance if you are so inclined. However, once in court, you must be prepared to prove the elements of contempt which should be thoroughly understood prior to hearing if you are going to do this on your own. Every court has a "contempt" packet of forms that will explain the process in greater detail than this forum will allow. However, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 909-635-2023.

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