If you're getting a divorce, or are already divorced and you remarry, it’s important that you and your new spouse understand how child support arrears can impact your new marriage, especially if you are the non-custodial parent who will be paying child support until your child turns 18 or graduates high school, which ever happens later.
Do you pay child support or will you be doing so in the near future? If so, be forewarned: the state has many ways (uncomfortable) to enforce child support orders, many of which may strain your new marriage. Unfortunately, a lot of people going into second marriages don’t realize the consequences of not paying child support and before they know it, child enforcement efforts stress the couple out and lead to resentment and arguments.
How Are Payments Collected?
The local child support agency (LCSA) helps custodial parents receive their child support payments. Such agencies are adept at finding people who change jobs a lot. They can take a non-custodial parent’s income tax refund, they can freeze their bank accounts, and suspend their driver and professional licenses, such as a real estate license or contractor’s license. These can all be stressful on a newly married couple, which we’ll go into more detail below.
If you remarry and you fall behind on your child support payments, the local child support agency can do a lot to collect the money from you. Here’s how your new romance can be impacted by the LCSA’s efforts:
- The LCSA can report the late payments on your credit, which can affect your ability to obtain an auto loan or mortgage with your new spouse.
- If you owe more than $2,500 in child support, you will be denied a U.S. passport, which could mean you have to honeymoon locally instead of overseas.
- If you buy a house with your new spouse and you fall behind on child support, a lien can be placed on the property making it so you can’t refinance or sell until the child support obligation is resolved.
- If you owe more than 30 days of child support, the following licenses can be suspended: driver, business, professional, occupational, and business. Suspensions can force you out of work and force your new spouse to be your chauffer.
- The Franchise Tax Board Support Collection Program can take funds from your joint bank account if you ow more than $100 of child support. It can also take commissions, royalties, rental income, and dividends. These can all stress your new spouse out.
- If you and your new spouse are expecting a tax refund, you can kiss it goodbye if you owe child support.
- The assets in your joint bank account can be taken to pay your child support arrears.
- If you receive SSDI, unemployment, or workers’ comp, part of these benefits can be taken to pay your child support arrears thereby affecting your household income.
- If you win the lottery, your winnings can be taken to pay child support.
We hope you find this information useful. If you need legal representation with a divorce, child support, or child custody matter, contact our San Diego divorce firm for a free case evaluation. We look forward to helping you.