ne of the toughest parts when it comes to divorce or separation can be handling your children’s affairs. If you are the custodial parent and your ex owes child support, but has failed to pay, what are your options? We’ll explore the process that may follow when it comes to an ex who is not paying child support.

Where Was This Agreement Made?

First thing’s first. Where was the child support agreement made? If the agreement was only made privately between you two, a court may not be able to accomplish anything for you. If the child support plan was viewed and approved by a court, then you can go to a court to file a contempt motion against your ex.

What Can Happen When I File A Contempt Motion?

It is important to go before a court to say your ex hasn’t been keeping up with child support payments. In the state of California, there is a statute of limitations for 3 years on filing motions of contempt when it comes to missed child support payments. Filing for a contempt motion issues a civil warrant against the offending parent. Consequences of this warrant include fines and possible jail time. Often, the ex’s financial resources are tapped to make up for missed payments as well.

There may also be a criminal warrant issued on the paying parent, but this occurs when federal or state prosecutors become involved in the case due to the parent being significantly behind on payments or owing a very large amount. This warrant can also lead to fines and/or jail time of year or longer.

Other Ways To Obtain Child Support

A court can also set other legal ways to obtain the child support you’re owed. In California, other consequences when concerning failure to pay child support include:


  • Jail time or a fine of $1,000 (though fines aren’t always issued if the money can go to the amount of child support owed)
  • Community service
  • Order that the paying parent pay the other parent’s legal fees for bringing the matter to court
  • There may be a court order placed to take the possession of the ex’s real property, like a house or piece of land
  • Money may be taken out of the ex’s paychecks to pay for child support
  • Money may also be taken out of offending parent’s bank accounts to make up for child support payments

Does Your Ex Owe Child Support?

Child support is meant to cover your child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, home needs, etc. Getting professional legal representation when it comes to filing a contempt motion due to missing child support payments is recommended. For a divorce lawyer in Carlsbad to represent you in this legal matter, look no further. At The Law Offices of Marc Duxbury, you will be connected to an expert family law professional that can offer you unmatched legal advice to make the court process much smoother!