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Enforcing child support in California

Divorcing with children is anything but easy. This is not only a major life-changing event for the parents, but it is likely to alter the entire life dynamics of the children as well. Because a child is used to living in a single home with both parents, the transition to living in two home could take much time to get used to. In addition to establishing where and when a child will be with each parent, divorcing parents need to also address any financial concern regarding their child or children. This means developing a child support agreement.

Just because divorced parents in California and elsewhere come to terms with a child support order, this does not mean this obligation will continually be met. Life can bring many changes and difficulties, sometimes making it impossible to meet the terms of a child support agreement. However, substantial changes in circumstances are not the only reason why child support obligations are not met. In some cases, a payer parent fails to fulfill their obligations simply because they do not believe they should pay that amount.

When a recipient parent does not receive the child support payments outlined in a order, this can present financial challenges for the parent and the child. Thus, he or she should understand how they could go about enforcing these obligations. When enforcement is sought, it is also important to consider whether modification might be necessary. A recipient parent can seek assistance from the local child support agency. They may also need to file with the court in order for certain enforcement actions to take place.

There are various ways child support could be collected on behalf of a recipient parent. This includes actions such as intercepting state or federal income tax refunds, unemployment benefits, workers' compensation benefits, disability benefits or lottery winnings. Additionally, wages could be withheld from paychecks, levies could be attached to bank accounts, driver's licenses could be suspended, levies placed on property and even suspend or deny a passport.

Dealing with family law issues related to child support can be complex, emotional and frustrating. Nonetheless, they are solvable problems. Thus, it is important to fully understand your situation and what steps you could take to protect your parental rights and the best interests of your child.

Source:, "Establishing & Enforcing Child Support Orders," accessed Oct. 15, 2017

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