California has one of the most complicated child support laws of any state. Sometimes, the complications don’t end once you have an order: a parent sometimes has to deal with the other parent not paying the Court ordered child support. Here are 5 helpful tips to help you enforce child support:
- Enforcement against Retirement plans. Although many retirement plans are protected from enforcement from creditors, the same is not true of child support. The law allowing enforcement of support against retirement plans is well-established, but not well-known. Child support can be enforced against any ERISA plan, provided that a qualified domestic relations order (“QDRO”) is established first.
- Health Insurance Wage Assignment: While most people quickly learn that the Court can, without much difficulty, order that child support be automatically deducted from an obligor’s paycheck, one can just as easily obtain an order requiring that the children of the parties be insured. There is a handy judicial council form for this: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl470.pdf
- The Child Support Notice of Delinquency: Many do not know of the specific child support delinquency statute that could require an obligor to pay a 72% penalty on the
principle within a year. That’s almost 7 times greater than statutory interest. There are
specific procedures that need to be followed, but this judicial council form explains them in detail: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl485.pdf
- Child Support Security Accounts: If there is a history of nonpayment in a child support case, the Court can take some drastic actions to ensure nonpayment is less of an issue in the future. Pursuant to Family Code section 4550 et seq, the Court can order an obligor to put 12 months of child support into an interest bearing checking account accessible to the supported parent in the event of nonpayment. Usually the treat of such an action is enough to compel a supporting parent to comply with child support orders.
- Spendthrift Trusts: Spendthrift trusts can be a well known shield from creditors. These trusts provide disbursements to the beneficiary that is meted out over a long period of time so the beneficiary won’t waste the money (hence the name, spendthrift trust). Typically, the creditors can’t go after the corpus of the trust, but this is not so in child support. The Court can order the trustee to satisfy the child support obligation right from the corpus.
Feel free to contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding child custody and visitation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.