I have a child-support order for my ex. What are my options to make him work?

I have a child-support order and a wage assignment in place to ensure payment from my son's father. Earlier this year, he received a reduction in child support from the court, with a follow-up hearing to be held in six months to review his (then) current employment. He is now in arrears for over $100,000. I have been awarded payments towards those arrears at $250 per month. I haven't received any payment this year. What are my options to make him work, or at what point will he get sent to jail?

By Marshall Waller
June 16, 2008
CA FAQ/Child Support

You have many choices in this context. You can consider filing an order to show cause regarding contempt. This procedure, however, is designed primarily to punish the paying party, as opposed to generating cash flow. The hoped-for intention with a contempt proceeding (usually) is that the paying party, to avoid jail, will simply do as the court orders and pay support. This is a complicated procedure, however, and many lawyers are unfamiliar with the technicalities involved, so I would approach it either very carefully on your own or with an attorney who has a lot of experience doing this.

You should also contact the Department of Child Support Services to assist you in the collection of support. This is a government agency that will perform their services free of charge. They are somewhat relentless, but it typically takes a long time to see results.

Finally, when you are in court later this year, you can consider requesting that the judge order the paying party to deposit funds into a child-support trust account. Of course, this won't be very helpful unless he has money to satisfy that order. That procedure is also pretty detailed, so if you choose to go down that road there will be research involved. Of course, this is not going to be very helpful to you unless he has money to satisfy that order.


Marshall Waller is a Certified Family Law Specialist with Feinberg & Waller in Calabasas, CA. He has gained a reputation as a dynamic and entertaining speaker and has spoken nationally and locally to trade, civic, and private organizations. He can be reached at (818) 224-7900. View his firm's Divorce Magazine profile

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June 16, 2008
Categories:  FAQs

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