When a noncustodial parent loses his or her job, it doesn't mean that he or she isn't responsible for providing for his or her child. Instead, it means work with the custodial parent and the family court to create a solution that serves the best interest of the child. Family courts in California and other states may monitor the progress that the unemployed parent is making finding a new job.
California parents who do not have primary physical custody of their children are usually required to pay a certain amount in child support every month. However, there are many who simply cannot afford to pay what they owe, potentially causing them to default and face severe legal consequences.
Unpaid child support can impose a severe burden on many single parents and their families in California. Court-ordered child support is meant to help cover the daily costs of raising a child, and when it is delinquent, parents may find it next to impossible to make ends meet. Child support funds can pay important costs for the children, including medical and dental costs, educational fees and other expenses. Because unpaid child support can have a major impact on children's health and well-being, enforcement of support orders is a priority for both state and federal agencies.
In the United States, one out of every 14 workers is having his or her wages garnished according to ADP Research. California residents and others were most likely to have wages garnished to pay back child support. Overall, child support garnishments made up 3 percent of all garnishments, and they were the most common type of garnishment of those studied by ADP. The study also looked at garnishment related to bankruptcy, tax debt and other common scenarios.
A California parent who has gone through a divorce and who has been ordered to pay child support may seek a modification for a number of reasons. An injury, losing a job, a change in household income or a change in marital status could all be reasons that result in the need for child support modification. It is important for a parent who needs a modification in child support to avoid procrastinating. Child support modifications are rarely retroactive, and back child support payments cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
When California custodial parents are seeking child support payments, they may want to request retroactive support. They may need to provide evidence that support was not paid and that they attempted to collect it. If the other parent is the child's father, it may also be necessary to prove the father's paternity.
Once a child support order is finalized in the state of California, both parents are required to follow the provisions regardless of changes in how the parents feel about each other. However, if a parent's financial circumstances have changed, they can potentially request to have the child support order modified.
California residents who have been following Sherri Shepherd's custody case may be interested to learn that her former husband, Lamar Sally, is fighting for more child support. The former couple has a son, now 2 years old, who was born via surrogacy after they separated.
Studies have shown that children are increasingly being born into single parent homes, and other research also indicates that a lack of resources may lead to significant problems for them. About 40 percent of children around the country are born to parents who are not married. While a small number of these parents will get married or otherwise live together, the majority of those children are raised by one parent.
While California already allows modification of child support payments if necessary for people who are incarcerated, the Obama administration is moving to make it possible for prisoners in all states to change their child support obligations when they are behind bars. This is part of the administration's overall efforts at prison reform.