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Separating from a spouse or partner can be emotionally challenging, but a separation or divorce can be even more difficult when it affects a parent’s relationship with their children. Because of this, issues related to child custody are often some of the most contentious matters involved in divorce cases. However, regardless of the decisions made about custody, one parent is often ordered to pay child support. These payments are meant to provide for a child’s needs, and if a parent is not meeting their court-ordered obligations, it is important to understand the legal options available to ensure that children receive the support they deserve. 

My Former Spouse Is Not Paying Child Support 

According to the Federal Government’s report on Custodial Mothers and Fathers and their Child Support, there are more than 13 million single custodial parents living throughout the United States. Just under half of those parents have an established child support agreement with their child’s other parent. Unfortunately, many custodial parents never actually receive the money their children are entitled to. According to the study, throughout 2016, less than 70% of all child support was actually received by the custodial parent. This means that many parents are failing to fully pay their child support obligations, or they are neglecting to pay them altogether. 

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Los Gatos child support enforcement attorneyEveryone has heard about deadbeat parents who do not pay child support. This can cause a great deal of stress and a significant financial burden for the custodial parent, who is forced to make ends meet on their own. In most cases, child support payments are taken directly from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck, but in some cases, there may be a different payment method, or the parent may move on to a different job without divulging that information to the state.

Where Do I Turn When My Ex Is Not Paying Support?

If the parent ordered to pay support is not holding up their end of the agreement, the first step may be to contact the Local Child Support Agency (LCSA), but it could also be in your best interests to contact an experienced child support lawyer to help you determine your options for getting the money that is owed to you.

What Repercussions Will a Non-Paying Parent Face?

Although failing to pay support can result in being held in contempt of court, charging the responsible party with this offense may not be a great help in recovering unpaid child support. The parent in contempt may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation. The problem with this is that if the parent goes to jail, you will likely still not be receiving child support at all. 

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CA family lawyerParents are required to provide financial support for their children, whether they are married, unmarried, separated, or divorced. When parents do not live together, one parent will typically be required to pay child support to the other parent to ensure that children’s needs are met. The amount of child support is determined following the guidelines defined in California law, and it is based on the amount of income earned by both parents, as well as the amount of time children spend with each parent.

California’s Child Support Formula

Prior to calculating child support, each parent’s disposable monthly income should first be determined. Disposable income is calculated by taking a parent’s gross income and subtracting allowable deductions, which include state and federal income tax, mandatory union dues and retirement benefits, health insurance premiums, previously-ordered child support payments, and hardship deductions, if applicable.

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Posted on in Child Support

California family lawyerWhen a noncustodial parent has refused, month after month, year after year to come forth with child support payments, many parents despair in their belief that nothing more can be done--that they will simply have to continue on struggling to pay for health care costs and college savings. However, this is not necessarily true. An experienced Los Gatos child support attorney may be able to offer you a solution to a problem that you have unfortunately been dealing with for years: collecting back child support

What Is Back Child Support?

Back child support is unpaid child support that has collected over the months or years. According to CNN, over $100 billion is owed in the form of back child support across the country. With interest, it is not uncommon for a single mother to be owed $10,000, $20,000, or much more if the delinquent payments have been going on for years. Common excuses for noncustodial parents to use for lack of payment include:

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California divorce lawyer, California family law attorneyThe school year is coming to a close, which means for many families with a child visitation schedule, housing situations swap. If you are the non-custodial parent who makes regular child support payments, you may have custody during the summer months. This alteration from the normal schedule raises questions about the continued payment of your responsibilities. If your child is with you for a month or more, are you still obligated to make a payment to the other parent?

Modification Options

As much as we may wish that we can alter payment schedules on a whim, this is not possible without court approval. When you set the payment arrangements, the decision became a court order which is unmodifiable, except through the court. To make a change, you must show proof to a judge that there is a significant change in circumstances requiring the change. Unfortunately, vacation and the predetermined visitation arrangements do not typically constitute a substantial change of circumstances. Instances that may qualify include:

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