An Overview of Child Support Arrears in CA

family law legal adviceAfter a divorce, a family court judge might find it appropriate to assign child support payments to one party. These are payments designed to cover the needs and living expenses of any involved children, and the exact amount can vary based on the overall family circumstances and lifestyle.

When someone shirks his or her legal duty to make child support payments, the consequences stack up quickly. The courts have various mechanisms in place to help collect the missed payment. One of these includes child support arrears.  

Today’s post is a look at the types of child support arrears that the family law courts can implement to collect on pending or missed payments. We’ll also take a quick look at other potential consequences that come with missed or late payments.  

Types of Child Support Arrears

Legally, the term arrear is used to refer to a debt or a liability that is outstanding or unpaid. It can be universally applied across various areas of the laws, but within family law, it usually refers to missed or late child support payments. Arrears can be further divided into two categories: assigned and unassigned.


  • Assigned arrears: These types of arrears typically only come into play when the primary parent with majority custody  is on government assistance. These payments are pursued by the state, and the other party is expected to deal with and make the payments directly to them. 



  • Unassigned arrears: On the other hand, unassigned arrears are a type of payment that are owed to the parent. These payments are usually several missed payments bundled together, and the payments often involve added interest and additional penalties.


Failure to Pay Child Support Carries Other Consequences

While arrears are one quick way for the state or the other party to try to collect owed funds, there are also other potential consequences that a delinquent parent might expect to face.

In CA, missed child support payments can lead to consequences such as:

  • Withheld and garnished wages
  • Minimized or reduced disability benefits
  • Seized state/federal tax refund
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Property lien
  • Criminal charges

California takes parental responsibility seriously, and parents who neglect their duties can expect to deal with harsh and expensive ramifications, as well as possibly even jail time. 

Talk to a CA Family Law Attorney Today

We hope this post offered some insight into how child support arrears work in CA, as well as what missed child support payments can lead to in CA. If you’re a parent trying to collect missed parents, or if you find yourself struggling to keep up with court-mandated costs, take a proactive approach and reach out to a trusted legal professional today. 

We guide our clients onto the right track on a daily basis, and can apply our expertise and experience to help you  and your loved ones. Learn more about what we do calling us at R & S Law Group, LLP. 

Call us today at (949) 825-5245 to book a free initial consultation.