They say children are the symbol of love and commitment between two people. That's because bringing a living, breathing, tiny little human into this world means you're signing up for new and heavier responsibilities that you will share with your significant other. But what happens to the child if the relationship falls apart? The responsibilities you have for your child will not go away if you call it quits with your partner. After all, no matter which angle you look at it, the child is your own flesh and blood. And as a parent, you have to ensure that he/she will be taken care of and live a happy and healthy life.
Not all parents, however, are happy to fulfill this role. There are many factors that lead to such a reaction -- such as unpreparedness, personal choices, or simply the state of affairs. Whether or not the parent is ready to accept his/her parental responsibilities, one thing is for certain: the law wants nothing but the best for the child. That is why California Penal Code PC 270.6 was enacted. It aims to encourage parents to support their offspring as much as necessary. How much a parent will pay for child support will depend on his/her capacity as well as the needs of the child. It does not matter whether the parents are divorced, separated, or never married in the first place. Ultimately, the right of the child to be nourished and well-supported must be protected.
If you are ordered by the court to pay child support, you must absolutely honor this order for the sake of the child; or if not, then for your own good. Child support payments usually cover:
- The child's basic needs (food, shelter, clothing);
- Medical bills;
- Educational expenses; and
- Other payments relating to activities or entertainment.
However, there are instances where a parent deliberately refuses to pay child support. A few examples would be:
- Moving to another state or country to avoid child support payments;
- Cutting all means of communication with the other parent;
- Strongly denying that the child is yours; or
- Intentionally spending all of your money that should have been paid for child support.
None of these, however, are reasonable excuses for one to be pardoned of not paying child support. For example, moving out of state without a lawful excuse is a violation of PC 270.6. Even then, fleeing away from your homeplace won't get you anywhere. That is because, under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the parent will still be liable for the amount of support ordered by the California court even if he/she moves to another state.
Meanwhile, other related laws to the refusal of paying child support include:
- Child neglect;
- Child abandonment; and
- Failure to provide
Punishments for Refusing to Pay Child Support
If a parent refuses to support the child financially as ordered by the court despite having the capacity to do so, he/she can be found to be in contempt of court. What that essentially means is that the court believes you deliberately and willfully disobeyed a court order. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may either categorize your case as criminal or civil or even both.
Generally, a payor parent who refuses to pay child support will face the following consequences:
- Pay fines;
- Render up to 120 hours of community service;
- Serve not more than five days in jail;
- Cover the attorney's fees and other expenses on behalf of the other parent;
- Get the unpaid child support deducted from his/her salary;
- Denial of tax refunds;
- Put a lien on the other parent's property;
- Temporary suspension or revocation of driver's license; and
- Temporary revocation of passport.
Remember, the court may issue child support-related warrants to the parent who disobeys child support orders of the court.
California Lawyers Are Here To The Rescue
Surely, child support cases can get more complex than described. People wonder: “what happens if I lose my job?”, “what if the other parent refuses to let me see my child?” or “what if I accidentally forgot to pay child support?” These types of questions are better answered by a professional lawyer with a license in California.
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