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Consequences of Not Paying Child Support

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Back in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a lot easier for a noncustodial parent to skip out on their child support payments. Back then, we didn't have the technology that we have now. Today, if a parent tries to avoid paying child support, they can run but thanks to the digital trail they leave behind, they can't hide.

Once a court orders you to pay child support, you are required to make those monthly child support payments starting on the date that the judge orders you to.

In California, whenever child support is ordered, the court orders that a wage assignment (wage garnishment) be served upon the employer. This wage garnishment instructs your employer to take your child support payments out of your paychecks.

What happens if I don't pay?

If you do not pay child support, it can have serious consequences. For example, if the court determines that you have the financially ability to pay child support but you willfully did not pay it, you can be found in contempt of court, which means you could go to jail.

This is IMPORTANT: If you cannot afford to pay child support because your income was reduced, you were incarcerated, you were in an accident, you got very sick, or you lost your job, you must ask the court to change your child support obligation – do not wait!

Even if you lost your job, you're still responsible for the full amount until the court modifies the child support order.

Other consequences of not paying child support:

  • It can be reported on your credit
  • Passport denial (if you owe more than $2,500 in back child support)
  • Suspended driver's license
  • Suspended or withheld professional license (doctors, lawyers, teachers, contractors, cosmetologists, etc.)
  • Seizure or property, such as vacant land, vehicles, boats, etc.
  • Bank accounts can be garnished
  • Intercept tax refunds
  • Lump sum workers' compensation awards can be taken

If the local child support agency takes any action against you, contact a Los Angeles divorce attorney from Claery & Hammond, LLP. We can review the facts of your case and see what can be done to remedy the situation.


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