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July 27, 2017
What will happen if I don’t pay child support?

As a parent, you have a number of obligations to your children. And these obligations do not end just because you get divorced from the other parent or if you do not have custody of your kids. You can still be required to pay child support.

Even if you disagree with the court’s order, paying child support in full and on time is crucial for at least a couple reasons. First, it shows that you are contributing to your child’s well-being, if only financially. Secondly, you can face serious penalties if you fail to comply with child support order in California. We examine these penalties below.

Financial penalties

  • Damage to your credit rating
  • Liens against your house or other property
  • Interception of income tax refunds and/or lottery winnings
  • Penalties on unpaid support amounts

Legal penalty

The main legal penalty that you could face is being found in contempt of court, which can come with a jail sentence.

Other penalties

  • Denial of passport
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Suspension of other state-issued licenses, including recreational and professional licenses

Another consequence to consider if you do not pay child support is the damage it can do to your relationship with your child. If you are able but unwilling to pay child support, you may be permanently hurting your chances for a meaningful relationship your child now or in the future.

To avoid these penalties, talk to an attorney

In some cases, it may be all but impossible for a parent to pay child support. Perhaps he or she lost a job or suffered a serious injury leading to massive medical bills; maybe there is hesitancy because a man doubts his biological relationship to the child or wishes to relinquish his or her parental rights.

Under these and similar circumstances, it would be wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible to examine the possibility of a modification or termination of support, rather than simply stopping payments. With legal guidance, you can address any concerns you may about child support and avoid or minimize the penalties of nonpayment.

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