Every parent has an obligation to financially support their child. This is true even if that parent does not live with the child or have legal custody of them. To help ensure children’s needs are met, the state created a child support system that requires parents to make monthly payments to the custodial parent.
While securing a child support order is part of the process, it is only one step. Enforcing these orders can also be a concern if the paying parent does not comply. If your co-parent is not following the terms of your child support order, a skilled attorney could assist you.
A Thousand Oaks child support order enforcement lawyer could a explain the legal avenues that a parent may use if their co-parent is failing in their financial obligations. These legal options may include demanding arrears or filing a motion for contempt.
It is impossible to require the other parent to make child support payments without first formally establishing this obligation with a court order. Without an official order in place, the court cannot enforce any payments from one parent to another.
Establishing child support is often part of the divorce process. However, these orders could be issued at any time. In some cases, a court may have to formally establish the identity of the father through a paternity action before creating a child support order.
One tool a Thousand Oaks lawyer may use to enforce child support is by filing a motion for contempt. A finding of contempt means the court believes one party to the case has failed to meet their obligations set out in a court order.
The consequences for deliberately disobeying a court order can be steep. Although a contempt case is not a criminal proceeding, the court could incarcerate the non-compliant party based on their actions under some circumstances.
The motion for contempt must be made in writing and filed with the court. There is also a statute of limitations that applies to these cases, meaning a delay could limit the amount of child support a parent is entitled to recover. A parent has three years from the date payment became due to file a contempt motion related to the delinquent payment. Once this deadline has passed, those delinquent payments are lost.
The risk of jail time is only one of the consequences of disobeying a child support order, as there are a number of options available to the court once a motion for contempt has been granted. Some options a court may consider include:
A qualified attorney in Thousand Oaks could help during every stage of the child support enforcement process to hold an unreliable co-parent accountable. Their efforts could start with securing an order of contempt and then follow up with pursuing collection options through the court.
The court has a duty to hold a parent accountable when they refuse to comply with the terms of a child support order. A motion to compel is the best tool to force these parents to pay what they owe. If you are dealing with a child support dispute, you do not have to pursue enforcement on your own. Call a Thousand Oaks child support enforcement lawyer to get started as soon as possible.
Hoffer Family Law Firm