What happens when you fall behind in support payments?

There are many different facets to child support. The facts and circumstances surrounding the child support case will dictate how the court will handle the case. In situations where the parties come to an agreement over the support payments, namely how much one party is to party is to pay to the other and when the payments should be made, and then no court intervention is required. However, when the parties cannot come to an agreement, then the court will take a more active role in the matter. This includes but is not limited to the court setting up a payment plan based on the information that is provided.

In California as well as every other state there are rules, regulations and guidelines that determine what the court can do and can award with respect to child support payments. These guidelines are mathematic in nature and look at how much money each party makes, who will be the primary caretaker of the children, the number of children, the tax filing status of the parents, health insurance premiums, retirement contributions, as well as various other factors. Once the courts work through all of this and plug the data into their formula, a child support payment amount and a payment schedule are computed.

It is widely understood that child support orders have to be adhered to and payments must be made when they are due. Custodial parents may experience hardship if payments are not made in a timely manner. Failure to make child support payments can result in stiff penalties and maybe even incarceration depending on the severity of the nonpayment. Falling behind on payments may mean that a non-custodial parent will have to pay interest on top of the payment itself. Also, if payments are so far behind that they are in arrears, then the payments may be larger than what the court originally ordered to make up for the missed payments.

Child support is a mostly mathematical computation. Still, it helps to have an experienced child support lawyer on your side to state your case effectively, regardless of whether you are seeking or paying child support.