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What can happen if a parent fails to pay child support?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2022 | Child Support

The California economy has seen better days. Everyone has financial hardships that affect their and their loved ones’ lives. Some people ignore these hardships, hoping they will resolve themselves. Unfortunately, this approach usually worsens an already unfavorable situation.

Most noncustodial parents want to support and care for their kids. However, those in the middle of a financial crisis often fall behind on their obligations. In extreme cases, they may stop paying altogether simply because they don’t know how to improve their circumstances.

It’s important not to ignore your child support obligations. If you do, you could face harsh consequences.

Seizure of assets

The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) may seek a writ of execution to take your assets if you are behind on your payments. They can auction them off to recover some or all the money you owe.

Lien on real property

If you own real estate, the authorities can place a lien against it to prevent you from selling or refinancing the property. The lien will last until you start making your payments and catching up on what you owe. 

Audit of finances

You might need to make your financial information available to the DCSS for a thorough review. Reviewers will examine your assets, expenses and income in a court hearing to address the problem.

On the bright side, a review might help you if the authorities see that you cannot meet your obligations. Sometimes, you can modify your court order in the wake of a review to lower the amount of support you pay.

You can avoid trouble with the DCSS if you seek a solution at the first sign of a financial crisis. For example, if you lose your job or have your hours cut, a legal advocate can help you petition to modify your child support obligations before the DCSS gets involved.