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California will take legal action if you don't pay child support

Money is a common source of serious disagreements in modern marriages. In fact, financial problems can often be a contributing factor to a divorce. However, just getting divorced doesn't mean that the fight over financial issues will end. In fact, more issues may arise as your divorce moves forward.

You may feel like the amount of child support the court has ordered you to pay is far too high. After you factor in rent and your other monthly expenses, you may not have much money left over.

However, the courts will still expect you to pay child support in full and on time. You may need to request a modification if the amount ordered is inappropriate based on your income. Until the courts adjust the payment amount, you could be subject to enforcement actions.

California uses a straightforward formula to determine child support

The courts look at a number of factors when determining how much a non-custodial parent should pay in child support. Typically, they look at the income of both parents, special educational or medical needs of the child, and other factors, like the number of children in the family.

They will use all of this information, combined with the number of overnight stays you have with the children, to determine what amount of child support they order.

Sometimes, the courts have inaccurate information about your income when they make these important decisions. If the current order does not reflect your actual income, you may have grounds to seek a modification.

Otherwise, chances are good that if the court's figures about money match yours, you will remain obligated to pay support as ordered. Failing to pay for any reason can result in enforcement actions.

There are a lot of risks to not paying child support

Regardless of how complicated your financial situation may be, the courts frown on parents who do not fulfill their parental responsibilities. This is especially true if your children or your former spouse receive any sort of state support.

Even if your ex doesn't ask for enforcement at first, if your kids receive state benefits, chances are good California will attempt to enforce your child support obligations. It is also possible that your ex will request that the courts step in for enforcement. Some of the ways that courts enforce child support orders include garnishing wages, seizing tax returns and even issuing warrants for contempt of court charges.

While you may feel like the amount of support is inappropriate, especially if you spend a lot of time with your children but have no overnight stays, you have to ask the courts to adjust the support instead of just paying less than they ordered you to. Failing to comply with a child support order can have serious consequences.

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