Divorce negotiations help spouses divide property and other assets and responsibilities. These decisions have long-term repercussions that parents must carefully consider, such as debt assumption, mortgage responsibilities, and child support payments.
What Is Child Support?
Parents share the joy and effort of raising children. This is true whether or not they are still married. When a couple with kids files for divorce, one of the parents will be considered the primary provider. Typically, the other spouse will help provide food, medical care, education, and other necessities by making monthly child support payments. The amount owed varies, depending on factors such as income level and cost-of-living expenses.
What Happens if I Cannot Make Child Support Payments?
Like any other obligatory payment, there are consequences if an ex-spouse fails to pay child support on time. The severity of these punishments varies depending on how much a person owes. Here are a few potential issues:
- Warrants. Depending on how late your payments are, a criminal warrant may be filed against you. Enforceable in any state, these documents authorize police to take action, which may include issuing fines and making arrests. Civil warrants have similar consequences, which are filed against custodial parents in contempt of court. The punishments related to civil warrants are less harsh, but they may still include brief incarceration.
- License suspension. This includes driver’s, fishing, hunting, and similar authorizations.
In addition to these penalties, the California Department of Child Support Services may leverage a range of financial actions against you. For example, tax refunds, government benefits, salaries, and related funds may be garnished to cover outstanding costs. Any property you own may also be leveraged against the debt through a lien.
If you are struggling to make payments, work with an experienced San Diego divorce attorney to revisit what you can pay and renegotiate your divorce terms. Many of these issues (such as a suspension of your license or imprisonment) affect your ability to continue working and result in a lower credit score. As such, they can lead to greater debt, added consequences, and further difficulty making ends meet.
Find Peace from Child Support Challenges
Start by reaching out to the California Department of Child Support Services. Representatives can help you work out a temporary payment plan or revisit the monthly amount you are required to make. If you have late payments, communicating with this organization is one the most important steps in mitigating further consequences.
With an attorney’s help, you can also schedule a court date to modify your child support payments. However, you must demonstrate a change in circumstances that affects your ability to provide the agreed amount. This could include:
- Decreased income
- Changes to child custody or visitation orders
- Economic hardships
- Medical expenses
- Changing needs (for example, your children and former spouse need less support)
Against the threat of such harsh penalties, parents should do everything they can to make payments on time. When this is not possible, get in touch with Child Support Services to stay on top of your payment plan and avoid future problems.
Speak with Your Attorney for More Information
Financial hardships are common. Though there are measures in place to keep parents accountable, the state also understands that economic difficulties are a reality. Reassess your options with a family attorney in San Diego, CA, and consider revisiting the child support plan. A family lawyer can help you collect relevant forms and evidence, and speak with the support agency. This is especially important if a warrant has been issued.
For more information, contact the team at Boyd Law in San Diego. We have comprehensive experience with child support and family law, and we can help you through this difficult time. Get in touch with an attorney, and make the changes you need to avoid further problems.