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Common Issues in California Child Support Cases

by David Lederman
May 15, 2024
child support

In a divorce case involving children, there will likely be payment of child support ordered by the court. The law states that both parents have an obligation to provide for their children. This means the non-custodial parent must pay child support to the custodial parent. Child support is meant to pay for the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, housing, medical care, and education.

However, this does not always happen. Even though the children rely on this financial support to pay for their needs, their custodial parent does not always receive it. In fact, non-payment is common. According to the Department of Child Support Services, Californians owe close to $12 billion in child support. That is a lot of money that children are not getting. Due to this non-payment, children and their parents are struggling. Some parents have to work multiple jobs in order to pay for necessities. Many drown in debt. Children often go without. 

Child Support in California: What are Arrears?

Arrears is a legal term that refers to debt. Child support arrears means that a parent is ordered by the court to pay child support, and they do not pay it in full. They may only pay a part of it or none at all. 

Most child support payments are due on the first of every month. The payor has 30 days to pay the child support, or it is considered late and put in arrears. With few exceptions, a parent is obligated to pay child support until their child reaches the age of 18.

Child support is an obligation that is taken seriously. This debt cannot be eliminated, even in bankruptcy. 

California has a Debt Reduction Program in place. This program provides eligible parents with past-due child support payments the opportunity to reduce the amount they owe to the government. If you qualify, you will be able to offer a compromise repayment to the state. This means you may offer to reduce the debt by paying an amount that is less than the full amount you owe. 

A debt reduction agreement must take into consideration the needs of the children and the parent’s ability to pay. Any reduction in your arrears and interest owed will be based on your income and assets.

Common Issues Regarding Child Support

  • Non-payment or late payment. One of the most common issues is when the non-custodial parent fails to make child support payments or makes late payments.
  • Disputes over the amount