Delinquent Child Support Payments: What Are the Penalties in California?

Pleasanton CA child custodyWhen it comes to child support in California, the law is clear: parents are to provide for their children or face serious consequences. Once an order for child support is in place, an individual needs to comply with all terms of the child support arrangement, and the only way it can be changed is via a formal request for modification or termination.

Despite this, plenty of people still choose to skip out on their responsibilities, which means the state has to routinely step in and penalize those who fail to comply. As soon as a payment is late, it is considered delinquent and exposes you to a variety of different penalties.

This post examines the consequences that delinquent child support payments carry in California, both criminal and otherwise. Remember that if you need more in-depth advice, you can always contact us directly at the Law Office of James P. White.

Criminal Penalties for Delinquent Child Support Payments

Failing to pay child support is a criminal offense in California, and as such carries various criminal penalties. Those who intentionally seek to avoid paying are often charged with contempt of court, which is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to one year. That said, criminal charges are usually only pursued as a last resort.  There are other consequences to be aware of, however.

Other Financial Ramifications of Delinquent Child Support Payments

The financial consequences of delinquent child support payments are extensive and could affect different areas of your life. For one, late payments carry an additional 10% of accrued interest, making it harder to climb out of the hole once you fall behind. All late payments are reported to credit agencies, so you can expect your credit to tank, which can significantly complicate your life. In addition, the IRS can also move to have all your future tax returns intercepted, and you could have your wages garnished directly from every paycheck.

Talk to a Knowledgeable California Divorce Attorney

Needless to say, failing to pay or keep up with child support payments in California is a costly mistake that will rapidly snowball to a much bigger problem. If you’re dealing with delinquent child support payments on either end, or with any other matter relating to family law, know that we at the Law Office of James P. White are here to help.

We offer free initial consultations. Call us to learn more about how we can help.