After a court orders that a parent make child support payments, it is that parent’s legal responsibility to see that the payments get made. The court can and will order wage garnishment to take the payments directly from his or her wages. Failing to pay child support payments can result in serious consequences for the parent, and courts have wide discretion in imposing punitive measures to enforce the payment of child support. Whether you are behind on child support payments or are a party attempting to collect child support payments from a parent, it is imperative that you act quickly to resolve the situation. Parental rights and responsibilities San Diego, CA is a serious matter that needs to be dealt with promptly. At the Law Offices of Andy Cook in San Diego, we help parties who are having difficulty either collecting on child support payments or making child support payments reach positive outcomes, while ensuring that the rights and interests of the parties and those of their children are preserved and protected now and into the future.
Child Support Security Deposits
One option that a court can use to avoid non-payment of child support is to require that a parent make up to a year’s worth of child support payments at one time to be paid into a “child support security deposit” to ensure that the child will be financially taken care of during that time. The court will allow the paying parent the opportunity to file an application to reduce or eliminate this requirement based on the financial hardship of doing so, and the court will determine in its discretion whether the security deposit is necessary before ordering it.
Relinquishment of Assets to Court
A court may also require that a parent who has failed to make child support payments to relinquish money or other assets (i.e. an automobile) to the court, which the court could order to be sold with the proceeds of the court-ordered sale being used to pay the child support payments. Before taking such action, the court will give the parent a chance to argue that he or she either did not have the ability to pay the child support and/or that he or she did not intentionally fail to make the child support. The parent can also raise any of the following defenses to prevent the court from forcing the relinquishment of assets to the court:
- He or she is not actually behind in the payments
- There has been a custody change regarding the children
- There is a pending motion for support modification based on income reduction
- Illness or disability
- The parent is otherwise unable to generate income
- Other emergency conditions
If the court does not find that the parent has a justifiable defense, it will order the parent to relinquish assets to the court and may impose interest on any delinquent child support payments. If a court ultimately determines that a parent has the ability to make his or her child support payments but is purposefully failing to make the payments and continues to not make payments, the judge may find that parent to be in contempt of court and may even order the parent to serve jail time.
Child Support Services Actions
The local child support agency may also take actions against a parent who is delinquent in child support payments. If you are taking care of a child for whom you are supposed to receive child care payments, you should note that even if the agency gets involved, they do not represent you, and you still may need your own lawyer. The actions the agency can take include the suspension of the delinquent parent’s driver license.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation in Parental Rights and Responsibilities San Diego, CA
The courts have a number of options available to secure delinquent child support payments, so if you are a parent dealing with back payments that you owe or a party seeking to collect on payments that are owed, it is in your interest to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate these processes offered by the California courts. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Andy Cook possess the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to provide you with the representation you need in this critical area.