How is child support enforced?

To ensure you and your child’s other parent continue to financially support your children following a divorce, the family law court may order child support. Most parents willingly comply with these orders to provide for their kids; however, situations arise in which people cannot or choose not to pay. 

In the event your child’s other parent falls behind on his or her court-ordered child support, the state allows for several enforcement options. 

Administrative actions

According to California Child Support Services, the child support enforcement actions the state may take against parents for nonpayment or partial payment of their support orders include a suspension of their driver’s licenses. To regain his or her driving privileges, your child’s other parent may have to make a partial or full payment of their arrears. The state may also take action to suspend the professional and occupational licenses of your child’s other parent, as well as his or her passport. 

Financial actions

The state may also take enforcement actions that target the finances of your child’s other parent if he or she falls behind on child support. For example, Child Support Services may place liens on the bank accounts of parents who fall behind on their court-ordered payments. The state may also intercept tax refunds or lottery winnings from your child’s other parent to apply toward his or her back pay. Additionally, the state charges a 10% interest on unpaid support orders. 

Legal actions

The court may file contempt charges against your child’s other parent for nonpayment. The state may pursue this enforcement action as a final option when other steps have failed to encourage payment.