The consequences of falling behind on child support

Child support is an important responsibility that parents have towards their children. When parents fall behind on these payments, they can face serious consequences.

Non-custodial parents who owe support should understand the penalties they could face for failing to meet their child support obligations.

Wage garnishment and license suspension

One common penalty for parents who fall behind on child support is wage garnishment. This means that a portion of their wages become withheld directly from their paycheck by their employer. The garnished amount is then used to pay off the overdue child support. This process continues until the parent becomes current on their payments.

Another penalty parents may face for falling behind on child support is the suspension of their driver’s license, professional license or even passport. This can impact their ability to work, travel or pursue certain careers. According to California Child Support Services, parents lose their passport privileges once child support arrears reach $2,500, and the process of license suspension begins after 30 days of delinquency.

Court action and asset seizure

When a parent consistently fails to make child support payments, they might face legal action. The court may order the parent to pay the overdue amount in addition to any legal fees incurred, and some parents even face jail time for willful non-payment. In extreme cases, when the parent owes a significant amount in child support, their assets may become seized. This can include bank accounts, real estate or other valuable possessions.

These enforcement actions serve as a strong incentive for parents to fulfill their child support obligations. Parents should do everything they can to meet their child support obligations to not only avoid these severe consequences but ensure the well-being of their children.

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