Raising children is never cheap. When you are trying to raise yours with rising inflation and using just one income after divorce or separation, it can seem impossible. At the time of your divorce, a judge may have issued an order for your former spouse to pay child support. Too many people throughout Santa Clara County, though, ignore these orders even though they are final and legally binding. If you have not received court-ordered child support, there are ways you can enforce it.
How to Enforce a Child Support Order in Santa Clara County
If your former spouse or the other parent is not paying child support, you can petition the court to enforce the order. Essentially, this means you are asking the court to take certain actions to enforce the order. A court will grant your request if they find that your former partner has a court order to make these payments but they do not. The manner in which a court will enforce a child support order will vary from case to case, but a judge has many options.
How the Courts will Enforce a Child Support Order in California
The first step the family courts in Santa Clara County, and throughout the state, will take is usually a wage garnishment. Through a wage garnishment, the court or the local department of child support services agency (DCSS) sends a letter to the spouse’s employer. The letter tells the employer to withhold a certain percentage of the worker’s wages to pay child support. The employer must then withhold the wages and forward them to the appropriate agency, who will ensure the rightful recipient receives the support.
There are times when wage garnishments do not work. For example, a person may intentionally get fired or quit their job in an effort to avoid paying child support. In these instances, there are no wages to garnish. Still, the individual’s lottery winnings or tax returns may be intercepted, their bank accounts levied, or their driver’s license or recreational licenses, such as fishing license, may be suspended.
In the most extreme cases, a judge may also hold the party withholding child support in contempt of court. Contempt of court is a very serious matter and it could even result in further fines and jail time. Again, this method is used in only the most serious of cases, usually when a parent has gone to great lengths to avoid paying support.
Our Child Support Lawyers in Santa Clara County Can Help with Your Enforcement Case
If your former spouse has been ordered to pay child support, they are legally obligated to make those payments. At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, our Santa Clara County child support lawyers have extensive experience helping parents enforce court orders and we will put our expertise to work for you, too. Call us now at 408-688-9153 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys and to learn more about how we can help with your case.