Enforcing Orders of Support
There are several options for enforcing child and spousal support orders, and child custody rulings.
A contempt charge is applied to a party that doesn't comply with an order despite full awareness of its existence and the party's capability to meet its requirements. In order to find someone in contempt, the charge must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt," which puts the burden of proof on the accusing party. Violations, such as failing to pay child support or abide by custody orders, are two examples that could lead to a contempt charge. Then penalties include jail time and fines.
Wage Assignment Order
California law requires that courts issue an earnings assignment for all support orders. This means the payor spouse's employer must directly pay support to its recipient. This is mandatory for courts making or modifying a support order [Ca Fam Sec.5230(a)].
The one exception is when the parties agree on support. If the responsible party fails to make regular payments, then the Wage Assignment Order requires the employer pay the support out of the payor's paycheck.
Writ of Execution
This type of writ enables a person to request the court order the liquidation of an individual's assets and have the funds transferred to the owed party. A writ of seizure can be executed against property as well as bank and deposit accounts in order to satisfy past-due support payments.
Motion for Determination of Arrearages
A motion for determination of arrearages comes into play when there is a dispute over the amount of support one party owes another. If the amount is significant, this motion can lead to a court hearing intended to discover the total amount of support in question. Both sides of the dispute can petition for this type of hearing. A district attorney can also use a motion for determination of arrearages when a spouse disputes the back support they owe. The total amount of calculated support can include a significant rate of 10% per year.
Child Support Security Account/Electronic Funds Transfer
In some cases, spouses who are required to provide child support can be asked to deposit as much as a year's worth of payments into an interest-bearing account held in trust for the child. Typically this is used to ensure continuous support from individuals that move between employers or are self-employed. The account acts as a guaranteed child support payment. If necessary, disbursements from this account will cover any payments that are overdue by 10 days or more [California Family Code Sections 4560, 4561, 4570] .
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