The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) strives to make sure the custodial party receives regular and full child support payments. There are several other enforcement tools used to collect child support in addition to the wage assignment. Failure to pay the full amount of the child support obligation or failure to pay on time can have serious consequences.
The Abstract of Support Judgment is a legal document that is recorded against the noncustodial parent’s name when a child support order is established. The Abstract of Support Judgment operates as a lien in any county in which the noncustodial parent owns property.
The Department of Child Support Services can intercept state and federal income tax refunds to pay past-due child support (arrears). Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.
The DCSS can intercept 25% of the following sources to pay the child support obligation:
- State Disability Insurance
- Social Security Administration
- Worker’s Compensation Award
The department can intercept California State Lottery winnings to pay past due child support.
The noncustodial parent’s credit rating can be affected by the child support payment status. The department will report all payments or failure to pay to the major credit reporting agencies.
Past due child support is reported to the U.S. State Department and can result in denial of passport issuance or renewal.
It is unlawful for a person to refuse to pay child support. The department can seek a contempt citation in court if it is determined a noncustodial parent has the ability to pay and refuses to do so. A contempt proceeding may result in possible fines and/or jail time.
The Department of Child Support Services works with FTB to collect child support. FTB can issue a 50% wage assignment order or seize funds from individual bank accounts.
Child support arrears are not a dischargeable debt. During bankruptcy proceedings, enforcement on any arrears (past due support) may cease and the wage assignment may be reduced to the monthly obligation. Once out of bankruptcy, enforcement actions may be reinstated and the wage assignment may re-issue to include a payment for the arrears (past due support) in addition to the on-going support. Noncustodial parents need to alert the department of any bankruptcy status.