Your Family Matters.

Enforcement Of Orders

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2017 | Child And Spousal Support |

Enforcement of Orders, You need the help of a family law attorney enforcing child or spousal support, child custody and visitation orders, or property division orders due to non-compliance by your former spouse.


Child support is not voluntary, but support orders are not self-enforcing. If one parent fails to pay court-ordered child  support, it is up to the other parent to enforce that order.  It is a legal obligation owed to your children, enforced through the court system. While the California Department of Child Support Services is available to enforce child support orders, it can be slow to act. Our family law attorneys can help expedite the process of enforcing the child support order and get you the financial relief to which you are entitled. California law provides several methods to enforce child support orders.


Spousal support orders, just like child support orders, are not self-enforcing. If your former spouse fails to pay court-ordered spousal support, it is up to you to ensure enforcement that spousal support order. The person who receives support is called the recipient spouse. The person who pays support to a recipient is called the obligor spouse. Whether you need to enforce an existing spousal support order, or find yourself the target of an enforcement action, our experienced family law attorneys can provide you the spousal support representation you need. As with child support, several options for enforcing spousal support orders are available:

Earnings Assignment Order (also known as a Wage Assignment)

California law requires an earnings assignment for all child support orders. This means the spouse’s employer must pay support directly to the other parent. Earnings or wage assignment is mandatory for courts making or modifying a child support order; the one exception is when both parents agree on support. But if the responsible parent fails to make regular child support payments, the Wage Assignment Order will require that parent’s employer pay the child support directly out of that parent’s paycheck.

Writ of Execution

A writ of execution enables the parent receiving child support to request the court to order the liquidation of the other parent’s assets and have the funds transferred to the supported parent. A writ of seizure can be executed against real property such as a home, vehicles or other real estate as well as bank and deposit accounts in order to satisfy past-due child support payments.

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.

Contempt Proceedings

Contempt is when the supporting parent doesn’t comply with a child support order despite full awareness of its existence and ability to meet the financial requirements of the order. For a parent to be found in contempt, the charge must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which puts the burden of proof on the parent receiving the support. The penalties for contempt charges for failure to pay a spousal support order can include jail time and fines.

Motion for Determination of Arrearages

A motion for determination of arrearages is appropriate to resolve disputes over the amount of child support one parent owes another. Both parents can petition for this type of relief. A district attorney can also file a motion for determination of arrearages when a spouse disputes the back support they owe. The total amount of calculated support will ordinarily include an imputed interest rate of 10% per year.

Attorney’s Fees

An obligor spouse who fails to comply with support orders may be required to pay reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by a recipient spouse in the prosecution of a collection proceeding. The court hearing the case will determine the amount that would constitute reasonable attorney’s fees.

The above methods for obtaining support are also among the remedies for enforcing child custody and visitation orders, or property division orders.