Whether you are the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent of a child born from a now-dissolved relationship, you and your former partner have an equal financial responsibility to care for your child. However, you can only legally enforce this responsibility with a court-issued child support order—and if your child’s other parent refuses to pay their fair share despite such an order, legal action may be required to ensure their compliance.
A Ventura County child support enforcement lawyer could explain your options for enforcing the terms of an existing child support order during an initial consultation. Once retained, the family attorney could help you petition a court to act on your behalf and compel a delinquent parent to provide the financial support they owe you and your child.
In some situations, failure to pay child support may stem from financial instability due to job loss, medical expenses, or some other significant change in circumstances. In this type of situation, a skilled Ventura County child support attorney may be able to help both parents petition a court to restructure or replace an existing order based on their current ability to pay.
If a delinquent parent is intentionally avoiding child support obligations, the best course of action is often to file a motion with a court to hold that parent in “contempt.” However, the applicable statute of limitations sets a three-year filing deadline for this kind of motion. A parent who wishes to have a non-paying parent held in contempt of a child support order can only take action over the prior three years of missing support payments at most.
Once someone files a motion for contempt, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the allegedly delinquent parent has indeed failed to meet their child support obligations. If the case goes in favor of the motioning parent, the court has a number of options for compelling the delinquent parent to provide the money they owe and punishing that parent for their intentional violation of a court order.
In many cases, courts hold delinquent parents liable for overdue child support money by ordering garnishments of their wages and/or bank accounts. The money they owe would be taken directly from their paychecks or accounts until they are no longer in arrears. Other methods a court could utilize to seek reimbursement for unpaid child support includes putting liens on a delinquent parent’s real property, ordering the liquidation of real property, or taking child support money from other sources of income such as retirement or pension accounts, Social Security disability benefits, and even workers’ comp benefits.
A person held in contempt of a child support order may face significant civil and/or criminal penalties as well, including community service, fines of up to $1000, and potentially even jail time. A child support lawyer in Ventura County could offer further clarification about the results this sort of proceeding could have in a particular situation.
If your child’s other parent owes you child support due to a valid court order, their financial obligation to you and your child remains enforceable regardless of their ability or personal desire to pay. Accordingly, if a delinquent parent has failed to provide you the support you are owed, you could hold them legally accountable for their violation of a court order with help from dedicated legal counsel.
Hiring a Ventura County child support enforcement lawyer could make a world of difference when it comes to ensuring your child gets the financial support they need and deserve. Call today to schedule a private consultation.