I often get calls from clients asking if they can keep their child from seeing the other parent since he or she refuses to pay child support. In short, the answer is no. California courts view child support and child custody as two entirely separate issues. Since they have no relationship to each other, a judge would not be happy to hear that a parent withheld a child from the other parent to force him or her to pay money. Generally, the courts frown upon self-help techniques such as this.
Instead, it is best to seek court intervention. If there is no court order for child support, the custodial parent should file a motion to obtain one. Then, if the other parent is employed, he or she can ask that the other parent's wages be garnished so that support is paid directly by the parent's employer. If there is already a court order in place, the custodial parent can file a motion asking for an arrears judgment, which accrues interest at a legal rate. There are then various methods to enforce that judgment.
There are likely other issues that are specific to your case that should be addressed. Therefore, it is always best to seek the advice of legal counsel to determine how best to collect child support.
- By Tess Reutzel, Esq.
* The information in this article is for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.