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Child Support Pilot Program In San Mateo County May Order Unemployed Moms And Dads To Get A Job Or Go To Jail

In an effort to help more than 8,000 California children receive financial support from their parents, San Mateo County is launching a pilot program designed to obligate parents to financially support their children.

California Senate Bill 523, proposed by Senator Leland Yee, lets a judge order an unemployed parent to get a job when a child support order is issued. If a parent doesn’t follow the mandate, he or she can face contempt charges and end up in jail. If successful, the county-only program could become a model for the entire state of California.

Right now, California courts are not allowed to go after noncustodial parents who are delinquent with their payments unless 120 days have passed. During this time, interest is accruing on the debt and the kids are not receiving child support. 41% of cases usually become delinquent after four months, and six to nine months must pass before parents can be found in contempt.

The California Department of Child Support Services answers a number of Frequently Asked Questions regarding child support in the state of California, including the following:

How do I collect child support from a noncustodial parent who lives out of state?
Even when parents or guardians live in different states, a child support case can be opened at the local child support agency. The local child support agency can work with the other state to establish or enforce the support order.

What if either parent losses a job or is earning more money, will child support automatically be changed?
A child support order can only be changed by a new order or a stipulation approved by the court. The local child support agency will not automatically review a child support order for modification. Either parent may request a review of the child support case if there is a change in circumstances. Support orders may be changed if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as, an increase or decrease in either parent’s earnings, a change in custody, or a change in the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

You must contact the local child support agency handling the child support order to request a modification of the child support order and then cooperate in the review process by providing the requested financial information.

You may also file a motion directly with the court regarding the modification of a child support order. You may contact the Family Law Facilitator’s office in your county of residence for help in filing the motion. For a complete list of Family Law Facilitators, please refer to the following website: Family Law Facilitator.

How long do I have to pay child support?
Child support generally continues until the minor child emancipates or until otherwise noted in the child support order. Under California law, a parent’s obligation to pay support continues until the child becomes 18 years old. However, the current support obligation may continue until the child is 19, if the child is unmarried and attending high school full time. A court may order current child support to continue after the child emancipates because of special circumstances.

If there are arrears (past due support) owed on the child support case, the local child support agency may continue to enforce collection of the arrears until the case is paid in full, including any interest that may have built up.

At Sagaria Law, P.C., we represent clients in child support, child custody, spousal support, divorce, adoption, paternity, grandparent visitation, and other family law-related matters. Our clients live in Monterey County, Alameda County, Santa Clara County, Capitola, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Scotts Valley, and Watsonville. Our offices are conveniently located in San Jose, Monterey, and Fremont. Contact Sagaria Law, P.C. today.

County Launches Child Support Program, The Daily Journal
Frequently Asked Questions, California Department of Child Social Services

Related Web Resource:

Senator Leland Yee, California State Senator
The California Department of Child Social Services