One of the most contentious aspects of any divorce is the matter of who will get custody and, subsequently, who will be expected to pay child support. Typically, if one parent is granted sole custody of the children, the other will be ordered to provide additional financial support. However, what happens when that parent refuses to uphold their child support obligations after a divorce? In the state of California, there are number of ways that a custodial parent can legally enforce a child support order.
If you have been faced with a similar situation, you should not hesitate to seek guidance from a Pasadena family law attorney at Gille Law Group. With more than 30 years of collective experience, we know how to handle family law matters effectively – including those that involve the enforcement of a divorce decree. Our firm understands just how important it is for a custodial parent to have the financial means necessary to care for their children, so you can trust us to fight diligently on your behalf.
How to Enforce a Child Support Order in California
Once a child support order has been established by the court, the terms and conditions of that order are legally binding. This means that a non-compliant parent could face serious penalties if they fail to uphold their end of the bargain. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are a number of steps that can be taken to enforce a child support order, which often requires the intervention of a judge.
Some of the ways that a family law judge can enforce a court order include:
- Holding the delinquent parent in contempt of court
- Garnishing the delinquent parent's wages or income
- Suspending the delinquent parent's driver's license
- Issuing a lien against the parent's property or real estate
- Freezing the delinquent parent's bank accounts
- Reporting the delinquent parent's debt to credit bureaus
- Sentencing the parent to jail time until they pay support
"How do I file a motion for contempt?"
As previously mentioned, one of the ways in which a child support order can be enforced by the court would be to hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court – either civilly or criminally. If the delinquent parent is held in criminal contempt, they can be ordered to either make up their child support payments or face jail time. If a parent is held in civil contempt, they could also face jail time; however, they may be released as soon as they have repaid a certain amount of the past-due support.
If you are interested in filing a motion for contempt against an uncooperative ex-spouse, it may be best to retain the assistance of a Pasadena divorce lawyer. In doing so, you can ensure that your written request is properly filed with the appropriate court, as well as that your request is filed on time. There is a statute of limitations on all contempt motions, which means that you will only have three years from the date that the last payment was due, but not paid, to take action against the other parent.
"What penalties could a delinquent parent face?"
After a motion for contempt has been filed against a non-paying parent, a hearing will be held by the court. At this hearing, the judge will determine whether or not the parent willingly refused to pay child support. If they rule in favor of the plaintiff (the receiving parent), the judge can hold the defendant (the non-paying parent) in contempt and hand down a number of different penalties.
Penalties that a judge can issue against the delinquent parent include:
- Sentence them to a maximum of five days in jail
- Order them to pay a fine of up to $1,000
- Sentence them to 120 hours of community service
- Order them to sell property in order to make payments
- Order past-due support to be paid from their pension plan
- Have a lien placed on their property or real estate
Discuss Your Case with Gille Law Group Today
If your ex-spouse has refused to pay child support, there is no time to waste. Take action today with the help of an experienced family lawyer in Pasadena. When you turn to Gille Law Group for help, you can trust that we will do whatever it takes to secure the financial support that you and your children both need and deserve. Getting started is as easy as filling out a free case evaluation form online, so there is no reason why you should wait any longer to take the first step. Contact us today!