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 Goldberg &
Gille. With more than 80 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 Goldberg & Gille 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 Goldberg & Gille 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!