This is the next post in our series on the handling of child support issues in Orange County, California. Our last article discussed how Courts deal with parents who do not pay child support. It is important to understand that failing to meet your obligations can result in jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, and significant financial penalties. The best way to avoid such issues is to ensure that your payments are made on time. We recognize, however, that people sometimes find themselves in a tough financial spot. That is why, in this post, we will discuss how one should proceed if they are behind on their child support. If you find yourself in this situation it is suggested that you contact an attorney immediately.
If you know you are going to be late on your child support payments then the best thing to do is to contact the other parent immediately. When you contact the other parent inform them of why the payment will be late and provide a date by which they can expect to receive it. By opening this dialogue you accomplish two things. First, the other parent may be less quick to take enforcement action against you if the payment is forthcoming and if you were open and honest. Second, should you find yourself in arrears then it helps if you can show the Court that you have been attempting to work with the payee and that you are not simply ignoring your obligations. Showing the Court that you are acting in good faith may possibly result in the Judge finding that you are not acting in blatant contempt of the Court’s Order and, instead, you should be given an opportunity to catch up on your payments without facing stiffer penalties.
One common reason for which parents fall behind on child support is that their income has been reduced to a change in their employment situation. If this is the case then it is important to immediately seek a modification of your existing court order. If you do not modify the order then you will still be obligated to pay the prior amount even if your income has gone down. It is a mistake to simply pay less without first going to Court. This type of “self help” may result in one being found in contempt of Court. If you are falling behind on support due to a change in your circumstances then it is important to speak with an attorney immediately.
Our Orange County child support lawyers have extensive experience in assisting those who have fallen behind on their obligations. We will use your initial consultation to gain an understanding of your situation and to help you determine the best possible strategy for dealing with your situation. Contact our office today to speak with an attorney. Our Laguna Hills office also serves Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.