Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Financial penalties for not paying child support

Many people in Orange County might already know that when a parent does not pay child support is ordered, he or she could face jail time, a license suspension or other serious penalties.

What some might not realize, however, is that California courts have the power to impose monetary penalties on those who fail to pay child support as well. While these penalties in theory can be imposed on anyone who gets behind in child support, they may be particularly effective against those who have money but simply are unwilling to contribute to the support of their children.

California law allows a court to impose a penalty of 6 percent per month on any child support balance that is more than 30 days overdue, so long as the proper procedures are followed. The court does have some discretion to not impose the penalty when there are certain mitigating circumstances, like an unexpected job loss that is not a parent's fault. The most a court can assess is 72 percent of the total unpaid balance.

In addition to these penalties, California law also allows courts to assess interest on overdue child support payments. As is the case with other types of court-ordered payments, the interest is there not only to compensate people for the delay in getting their money but also to give parents additional incentive to pay their child support on time.

While asking for these penalties is not always the best option, they can be a highly effective means of getting a parent to pay the support they owe. It may be a good idea to discuss this option with an experienced family law attorney.

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Kevin Qualls Family Law
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