Protecting Your Rights And Your Child’s Best Interests
In California, every parent is presumed to have a financial duty to care for his/her child/children. When two parents divorce, separate or are otherwise not together, the noncustodial parent (or the one who spends less actual time with the child) will typically be required to provide child support payments to the custodial parent, as it is assumed that the custodial parent is paying and providing for the child.
Child support payments are based on a set of guidelines set forth by the state. While it may be possible to come to a somewhat different agreement through mediation, the court will look to the child support guidelines when making a ruling.
If you need assistance with child support, California Bar-Certified Family Law Specialist with the California Board of Legal Specialization Heidi D. Collier, APC, can help. Contact our Escondido child support lawyer at 760-933-0503 for a consultation. Our office supports clients in Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, Poway, Carmel Valley, La Jolla, and Santaluz.
What To Do If The Other Parent Of Your Child Won’t Pay Child Support
If the other parent of your child has been ordered by the court to make child support payments, but he or she is not making those payments, you can initiate what is known as an “enforcement order.” To do so, you may need to file a motion for contempt. While contempt of court actions are one avenue some lawyers use to try to force payment of delinquent child and/or spousal support orders, Ms. Collier can advise you on other, more effective and less costly ways to enforce past due support orders. Many clients, for example, do not understand that if party support files a contempt action, the non-paying parent is often appointed a free attorney.
Further, even winning a contempt of court action does not guarantee that the order will be paid. This is because the statutory penalties for contempt of a support order are actually NOT payment of the past-due support. Ms. Collier will advise and assist you on the many other legal options available to help you enforce your support order before considering filing a contempt action as a last resort.
The penalties for failing to pay child support are severe and may include:
- Lowered credit score
- Property liens
- Frozen bank accounts
- Loss of professional licenses
- Wage garnishment
- Criminal penalties
For those parents who find themselves behind in paying support, and as a result, incurring compound interest at the legal rate of 10% per year, Ms. Collier can assist in resolving those issues. The goal is always to ensure appropriate support orders are paid to the custodial parent.
Can Child Support Payments Be Changed?
Child support payments can be changed through a process known as post-judgment modification. This can be helpful for one or both parents when their circumstances have changed significantly.
When determining if a child support order should be adjusted, California courts will look at the following factors:
- Has the income of the paying or receiving parent changed?
- Did either parent lose their job?
- Does one parent have a child/children from another marriage/relationship?
- Did the child’s needs (schooling, health care costs, etc.) change
- Have there been considerable changes in the amount of time the child spends
with each parent?
- Was one parent arrested and/or incarcerated?
The court will also likely look at whether or not any factors that are typically used to calculate child support payments have changed and, if so, how significant those changes are.
Contact Heidi D. Collier, APC, For Representation throughout San Diego County
At Heidi D. Collier, APC, we understand the immense stress that often accompanies child support issues. Whether you need help navigating the process for the first time, wish to request modifications to your child support order, or need assistance enforcing an order, our Escondido child support attorney can help. Ms. Collier offers caring, dedicated and personalized legal representation for her clients. She will take the time to get to know you and learn about your unique situation. In every case, our firm strives to protect the best interests of our clients and their children. We serve all of San Diego County and the surrounding areas, from downtown to Fallbrook to Oceanside and beyond.