Options for getting unpaid child support

For some California parents who have gone through a divorce, getting the other parent to pay the child support that they were ordered to pay can be extremely difficult. In many cases, noncustodial parents have the ability to pay the child support but they simply do not want to for whatever reason. Some of them decide to move to another state. In these circumstances, the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act can help custodial parents.

Under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, only parents who willfully attempt to avoid paying child support can be punished. For example, parents can be punished if they travel to another state to avoid making payments. They must also fail to make payments for an entire year and owe at least $5,000. Parents who have not paid child support for a period of two years and who owe more than $10,000 may also be punished.

The punishments depend on the number of offenses. For example, the punishment for a first offense may include restitution in the amount of back child support that is owed and a maximum prison sentence of six months. For a second offense, the parent could potentially be imprisoned for a maximum of two years in addition to being required to pay restitution.

Custodial parents can use child support payments for everyday expenses, rent and medical costs as long as it benefits the child. If noncustodial parents withhold payments because they do not agree with how custodial parents spend the money, a family law attorney may help the custodial parent go to court to have the child support order be enforced. If enforcement measures, like seizing tax returns and garnishing wages, do not work, the attorney may determine what options the custodial parent has when it comes to getting the child support they are owed.