FAQs

I have a child support order, but the other parent doesn't pay. How can I get my order enforced?
One of the principal goals of the child support enforcement program is to ensure that all child support payments are received in the full amount due on the date due.

The primary enforcement tools of the LCSA are administrative, and do not require the involvement of the court. Administrative remedies can be used to collect all arrears/past due child support, regardless of whether they have been reduced to a judgment.

Where administrative remedies do not prove effective, however, the support collection unit can also petition the court for enforcement. Enforcement tools are described briefly below. Each process is subject to specific legal conditions, the details of which can be provided by the LCSA.

Administrative Enforcement
  • Income Execution - All orders of child support issued in California are required to provide for immediate wage withholding. This is accomplished under the IV-D program by the issuance of a Notice to Withhold Earnings to the employer of a child support payer, requiring that employer to deduct the child support obligation amount plus an additional amount to reduce arrears (if any) and forward the money directly to the LCSA. Income executions can also be issued to other income sources including, but not limited to Unemployment Insurance Benefits, Workers' Compensation, Social Security Disability, and pension plans.
  • Income Tax Refund Offset - Where a child support payer owes past due support/arrears, the LCSA can intercept any State or federal income tax refund due to that payer and apply it to the repayment of the past due support/arrears.
  • Lottery Prize Offset - Where a child support payer owes past due support/arrears, the LCSA can intercept any Lottery prize in excess of $600 won by that payer and apply it to the repayment of the past due support/arrears.
  • Driving Privilege Suspension - Where a child support payer owes past due support/arrears and is not paying child support through an income execution, the LCSA can direct the California State Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend that payer's driving privileges.
  • Property Execution -The LCSA can seize the liquid assets (i.e., bank accounts) of child support payers who owe past due support/arrears, and apply the proceeds to the repayment of past due support/arrears.
  • Liens - The LSCA can place liens against the real or personal property of child support payers who owe past due support/arrears. A lien will prevent the sale or transfer of the property until the past due support/arrears are repaid.
  • Referrals to the State of California - Certain hard-to-collect cases are referred to the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). FTB is authorized to employ all methods available for the collection of past due taxes to the collection of past due child support. This method is particularly useful against self-employed persons who own businesses.
  • Passport denial - Federal law requires that a parent with a past due child support obligation of $2,500 or greater shall not be issued a passport. In California, you must pay off your child support arrears and bring your balance to zero ($0.00) in order for a passport to be issued or renewed. You can make a payment with a credit card online, credit card by calling 866.901.212 or with money order, cash or credit card by walking into our office.
  • Credit Bureau Reporting - Where a child support payer owes past due support/arrears, the LCSA will report those arrears as a bad debt to all major consumer credit reporting agencies. This action is likely to negatively affect the ability of the child support payer to obtain credit.
Court Enforcement
  • After a hearing and upon a finding that a child support payer has violated an order of support, the court must enter a money judgment for the amount of the arrears.
  • Order to Seek Work - The LCSA can request the court to order a delinquent payer to actively and continuously seek employment.
  • Prosecuting for civil contempt or criminal prosecution. After a hearing and upon a finding that a child support payer has willfully violated an order of support, the court may
    • commit the payer to jail for up to six months, or
    • place the payer on probation.
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