Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support


As part of a Pasadena divorce, noncustodial parents will be ordered to pay child support for their minor children. Child support amounts are based on a variety of factors, including income and custody arrangements. Penalties for child support payments that are in arrears (past due) can be quite harsh.

In California, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) sends an annual notice to all parents who have overdue child support payments. This notice is called a Child Support Warning Notice (CSWN). The notice will detail the balance that is owed and some of the various avenues the state may use to attempt to collect the debt.

One of the most common penalties for failing to pay court ordered child support is to have your income tax refund automatically applied to the past due balance.

Driver's licenses can be suspended for past-due child support payments. To get your license reinstated, you'll need to contact your local child support agency (LCSA) to fill out the appropriate forms.

If applicable, child support payments can be automatically taken out of unemployment or disability benefits. State law allows for this method of collection if the debt is $150 or more.

According to federal law, parents with past-due child support of $2,500 or more can not be issued a passport. In California, parents must bring the past-due balance to zero or have the case closed before they will be issued a passport.

If you have past due child support payment, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Pasadena family law lawyer as soon as possible to develop a plan to deal with the debt. Child support payments can be modified if you have a drastic change in circumstances, but you must go through the appropriate legal channels to have this done. Until the support order is modified, overdue payments will continue to accrue interest -- making it harder for you to dig yourself out of debt.