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What to Do When the Other Parent Stops Paying Child Support


Despite the fact that child support orders are court mandated and carry the enforceability of law, uncooperative parents can make their enforcement a nightmare. When an insubordinate parent disobeys their child support order, there are several legal measures that can be taken to ensure the support arrangement is enforced.

Consult with Your Support Agreement

Child support orders can only be enforced if they are court-ordered. If your child's other parent only have an oral agreement regarding child support, you will not be able to have that agreement enforced in court. To be enforceable, your agreement must be memorialized in writing and be approved by a judge. If you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement, you must file an action for child support in your county superior court, which will prompt the courts to issue a support order in an amount that is in the child's best interests.

File a Motion for Contempt

California courts can enforce a child support order by holding the non-paying parent in "contempt of court," or by declaring that a parent has willfully disobeyed the court's order. If a parent is able to provide sufficient evidence of the other parent's contempt, the court will order the noncompliant parent to pay the owed amount or face stringent penalties, including the possibility of serving jail time for their infraction.

Parents seeking to enforce a child support order are subject to a three-year statute of limitations on bringing a motion of contempt related to the non-payment of support. In other words, you must file a motion for contempt within three years of the date which the payment was due. As such, if your child's other parent is not paying the required amount of support, it is recommended you file a motion of contempt every three years to ensure eligible to receive all past due support payments.

Other Methods of Enforcing Child Support

Under the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, district attorneys (D.A.s) or state's attorneys must help you collect child support. Oftentimes, the district attorney will serve the other parent with papers instructing them to meet with the D.A. to set up an arrangement for paying the debt or they will face possible jail time. If this is not successful, the D.A. may impose a number of consequences to ensure payment, including:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Withholding tax refunds
  • Suspending professional licenses
  • Seizing property

We Can Help Enforce Your Support Arrangement

If you are struggling to achieve cooperation from a noncompliant parent, our Roseville child support lawyers can help. Backed by several years of legal experience, we can provide you with time-tested legal counsel to help solve your family struggle with ease.

Call (916) 745-8444 or contact our firm online today to discuss your situation in detail.