How does the state help enforce child support in CA?
Child support is necessary to help you provide your child with the most basic necessities and to ensure he or she enjoys the same standard of living you and your spouse provided prior to your divorce. For these reasons and countless others, the state of California does not take delinquent child support payments lightly. If your child’s other parent neglects his or her responsibility to your child, the Department of Child Support Services will take proactive measures to ensure you receive overdue payments.
One of the most common enforcement tactics the department uses is an Income Withholding Order. An IWO, otherwise known as wage garnishment, requires the obligor’s employer to withhold the monthly child support amount from his or her paycheck. The employer then sends the amount to the state for processing. An employer can legally withhold up to 50% of a person’s paycheck, though that 50% may get disbursed between multiple parties.
If an IWO does not do the trick, the DCSS may utilize a bank levy. With a bank levy, the department can take money directly from the debtor’s bank account. To utilize this method, the past-due amount must exceed $100.00, and you may only use this method four times a year.
The DCSS may also suspend the debtor’s driver’s, professional, business or even fishing and game licenses to encourage payment. It may also place a lien on the obligor’s property, intercept tax income returns or seize lottery earnings.
If it comes down to it, the department may deny the obligor a passport. As a last resort, it may hold the parent in contempt of court. A contempt of court finding may result in fines and/or jail time.