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What are the penalties for late child support payments?

California takes child support payment enforcement seriously. The state requires parents to pay their court-ordered child support obligations on time, every time. Failure to do so can result in very serious criminal, financial and other consequences.

Here are the most noteworthy things that can happen when a California parent is late on paying child support:

  • Late fees: Late penalties, interest and other fees will accrue when parents don't pay their child support on time.
  • Frozen bank accounts: The government might choose to freeze an individual's bank accounts to recoup child support owed.
  • Driver's license suspension: Some parents who are late on child support could have their driving privileges revoked.
  • Getting reported to the credit bureau: Late payments will be reported to credit reporting bureaus and will have a negative effect on the payer's credit rating.
  • Criminal sanctions: Some parents could face criminal sanctions and wage garnishment.
  • Passport denial: Parents owing more than $2,500 will lose their passports.
  • Tax return interception: Tax returns, workers' compensation payments and disability benefits may also be intercepted to pay for back child support.

If you're late on your child support, you will want to do everything you can to resolve the situation and stay out of serious legal trouble. If you're owed child support that isn't being paid, the State of California will move forward on your behalf to collect the money you're owed. If you have yet to receive a court award of child support but you think you have the right, make sure you investigate your legal rights and options pertaining to your child support.

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