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My ex isn't paying child support: What can I do?

Parents who receive child support depend on that money to help support and provide for their children. The children also depend on this support, as it creates a tangible link between them and a non-custodial parent and shows that the parent is contributing to their lives.

My ex isn't paying child support: What can I do?

Unfortunately, there are plenty of parents all across California who fall behind on this obligation, ultimately leaving parents and children to pay the price. However, this does not mean delinquency is ignored. If you have not been receiving child support consistently, you should know that there are steps you can take to enforce the order and hold the paying parent accountable.

  1. You can speak directly with the parent. This is an important step that can hopefully address the problem effectively and quickly, avoiding further action. You may be able to clear up a simple misunderstanding, or alternatively you might learn that a modification may appropriate.
  2. You can report the delinquency to your local child support agency. Once a report is filed, your local county Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) can take actions to incite payment, including wage assignments, garnishing bank accounts, filing property liens, suspending a driver's license or intercepting tax refunds and lottery winnings.
  3. Filing a request with the court. The court can take action like ordering a person's employer to withhold the necessary support payments from a paycheck. The courts can also hold a delinquent parent in contempt of court for willfully failing to pay child support.

No matter which course of action you think is right or most effective, it is important that you know your legal options and rights when it comes to receiving child support payments. Discussing delinquency and enforcement efforts with your attorney can help you make decisions that are in your family's best interests. 

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