Child Support

What Happens if I Miss a Few Child Support Payments?

Child support payments are court-ordered transactions, and there are serious consequences for parents who do not remit timely payments. Each state in the country has some level of punitive action attached to failure to adhere to child support responsibilities. Consequences like wage garnishment, tax offsets, lottery seizure, or driver’s license suspension can happen if a parent decides to ignore their child support obligation. Child support is an important part of every divorce settlement, and payment and usage issues can lead to disputes and problems between co-parents. The parent who owes child support may feel they are being treated unfairly – especially if they have visitation or a percentage of custody. They may feel the award is too large or that their contributions in kind are not considered. This animosity can sometimes lead to payment issues, which is a serious infraction in California. Failure to pay child support comes with stiff penalties. Those having difficulties paying child support are advised to visit an attorney and ask about modification options.

Consequences of Failure to Pay Child Support in California

The court system recognizes that life is not static, and being in good financial health at one phase of your life doesn’t mean that you will always be able to afford these court-ordered payments. Additionally, as we learned recently from the coronavirus pandemic, medical problems can happen out of the blue, take over your life, and reorganize your priorities. Suppose your situation changes and paying your child support payments become a burden. In that case, it’s important to realize your limitations early on while there is still time to modify and save your financial security. If you don’t work to modify your child support order, the State of California will respond to your failure to pay with interest and penalties. If you owe a small amount or you think you could eventually catch up on your payment, it’s important to take every opportunity to get help before the hole becomes too large to escape.

In California, failure to pay child support means:

Penalty interest can be applied to your arrearages, which is 10% of the total past due amount in California. You could lose your driving privileges, and license suspension can remain on your file until you pay the total due. Accounts with past due totals more than $2,500 will also be denied a United States passport. One of the most serious consequences of failure to pay child support is, you may end up serving jail time and gain a criminal record.

According to CA Penal Code § 270:

“If a parent of a minor child willfully [fails], without lawful excuse, to furnish necessary clothing, food, shelter or medical attendance, or other remedial care for his or her child, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

Providing Child Support Guidance From Elk Grove Family Lawyers

Navigating the legal system isn’t easy, which is why our Elk Grove family lawyers are available to help parents find viable solutions to their legal woes. Our team is available for consultations whether you’re struggling to pay your child support and are seeking modification or trying to enforce a child support order. Call us today at (916) 571-1550 to schedule an appointment with the lawyers from Samra Dhillon and Associates. We can help with your child support matter.