Other Enforcement Tools
California law gives the Department of Child Support Services the power to compel compliance with a support order in several other ways. Among these are:
- Health Insurance Enforcement: this involves a notice similar to that used for an income withholding order that is sent to an employer directing the employer to enroll the children in the employer’s health insurance plan and to deduct the premium payments from the obligor’s pay.
- Liens on Bank Accounts: if the Department discovers an obligor has an account at a financial institution, it will freeze the account to cover the amount of any back child support due.
- Tax Refund Intercepts: an obligor owing child support may see his or her state and federal tax refunds intercepted by the Department to cover the amount of the support back support or arrears.
- Lottery Intercepts: if you’re lucky enough to pick the right numbers in the lotto drawing, you may lose your winnings if you owe unpaid child support.
- Suspension of licenses: the Department can seek to have your driver’s license, hunting or fishing license, and license to practice your occupation suspended if you are behind in your child support payments.
- Reporting to Credit Bureaus: the Department regularly reports child support orders to the major U.S. credit bureaus. Unpaid child support amounts could mar an obligor’s credit report and make obtaining credit very difficult, while a consistently paid child support order could help a credit report.
- Liens on Real and Personal Property: the Department can place liens on real estate as well as on personal property if large amounts of unpaid child support accumulate.
- Contempt: an obligor who repeatedly fails to comply with a child support order can be brought before a court on contempt charges. The possible punishments include jail time.
- Interstate Cases: fleeing to another state to avoid a child support obligation usually doesn’t work. Every state has its own Child Support agency that will help our Department enforce a support order across state lines. California also has the ability to send an income withholding order directly to employers in other states.
As you can see, the Department of Child Support Services has broad powers to enforce support orders. The best way to avoid being on the receiving end of one or more of these enforcement tools is to stay current in your child support payments.