Southern California Family Law Blog

It seems as though Rapper DMX is allegedly in trouble with the law. Contrary to what his popular song “X gon’ give it to ya” would have you believe, DMX has not been giving it to his ex-wife when it comes to child support payments, and now faces a possible arrest.1

Currently, nationwide child support arrears top more than $110 billion,2 with almost $20 billion of that owed in California.3 Much of this amount is not owed by celebrities like DMX, but by working parents whose failure to meet payment deadlines results in ballooning interest and mounting penalty fees.

With that in mind, here are 10 things you need to know about child support arrears in California.

1. Child support arrears can affect your ability to drive

One of the most common penalties for child support arrears is the revocation of your driver’s license.4 Ironically, this makes it much harder to continue working, greatly increasing the likelihood of missing further payments.

2. State agencies can deduct child support arrears from paychecks and tax refunds

Wage garnishments can be obtained through enforcement procedures in order to force payment of child support arrears. State agencies can intercept the payment of tax refunds to obtain missing child support.5 This means you could automatically see funds deducted from your paycheck.

3. Your bank accounts can be frozen

The Department of Child Support Services can freeze bank accounts in order to seize funds for child support arrears, making it difficult to pay other bills you have.

4. Unpaid child support can lead to jail time

If the court believes that you are able to pay child support but are refusing to do so, it can hold you in contempt of court.6 This can result in a warrant for your arrest being issued, and you could potentially face jail time.

5. Child support arrears do not necessarily end when the child turns 18

Unlike normal child support, arrears only stop once the total balance has been paid. If you have arrears, collection can continue well beyond when your child turns 18, when normal child support payments would cease.

6. You are charged annual interest on arrears, and can face additional penalties

California charges a set interest rate of 10% per year on unpaid child support.7 Along with this, you can face penalty charges between 6% and 72% on any amount more than 30 days late under California Family Code 4722.8

7. Out of state child support court orders can be enforced in California

If one of the parents lives in California, any court orders for child support can be registered, modified or enforced in California, even if child support orders were issued in a different state.9

8. California does not have a child support amnesty program

Some states like Oklahoma and New Mexico have begun amnesty programs that give parents with arrears the chance to renegotiate payment plans without fear of arrest. There is no amnesty for missing child support payments in California, and you will be to subject to harsh consequences if you fail to pay child support.

9. Your child support agreement can be modified or negotiated

Even if you have court ordered child support, you may be able to modify or renegotiate the amount you pay privately with your ex-spouse. If so, the negotiated terms will replace the previous court order.

10. An experienced family law attorney can help

Renegotiating child support arrears can be a complicated process. With more than just your money on the line, you need an experienced attorney who can fight to keep you out of jail and protect your rights.

Call a Wallin & Klarich Family Law Attorney Today

Child support, divorce and custody matters can be incredibly stressful, but hiring an experienced Wallin & Klarich family law attorney can help. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of child support matters.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help you no matter your location.

Call us at (888) 749-7428 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

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