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How are child support orders enforced in California?

Failing to pay child support can result in serious consequences and potential penalties to the non-paying parent. Parents who fail to pay required child support may wonder what they are. Parents who fail to pay child support, but are able to pay it, can be found in contempt of court for failure to pay. Contempt of court charges can lead to jail time so it is important for parents not to ignore child support orders and obligations and be familiar with child support enforcement tools that can help parents seeking to collect child support obtain it and ensure paying parents meet their child support obligations.

Additional potential penalties and consequences that are associated with a failure to pay child support can include liens on property belonging to the non-paying parent as well as credit reporting that may lower their credit score, among other potential penalties and consequences. Because there can be potential financial and criminal consequences associated with a failure to pay child support, parents should never ignore child support obligations but can seek out family law resources when they are having difficulty paying.

It may be possible for a parent, based on a significant change in circumstances, to request a child support modification. It is important to utilize family law resources when facing struggles paying child support rather than ignoring child support obligations. Simply failing to pay child support without seeking a modification from the family law court can worsen the situation and result in serious consequences to the non-paying parent.

Child support can be a continuing concern for both paying and recipient parents which is why the family law court is available to them as circumstances and needs may change. It is helpful for parents to be familiar with these resources and the simple way they can access them when needed.

Source:, "Child Support Enforcement in California," Accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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