There is a common perception among many California residents that child support is a matter to be handled between the two parties. Certainly, the court ultimately determines the final order regarding the award of custody and support, but if the parent ordered to pay fails to do so, it is up to the custodial parent to enforce the support. If that individual is without sufficient resources to pay for legal representation, many people think there is not much that can be done. However, that is not necessarily true.
Title IV-D of the Social Security Act of 1975 provides a powerful ally for the parent seeking to collect mandated child support. Under that legislation, a federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and an equivalent state office were established to provide assistance to needy families and children. Legal experts report that if a parent is receiving aid in the form of establishing paternity, locating a non-paying spouse or enforcing a child support order, that is considered a IV-D child support matter.
Similarly, if a custodial parent is receiving public assistance, the state automatically refers the case to the office of enforcement to help defer the costs of the assistance received. Additionally, cases involving non-parent custody, such as care by a relative or foster care, are automatically sent to the enforcement office. Finally, regular non-IV-D custody cases may become IV-D cases if the non-custodial parent doesn't keep up with the monthly support obligation.
Child support is awarded based on a formula that takes into consideration many factors. If one's life circumstances change, it is not unusual for the amount of child support to also change. However, it is necessary to go back to court, establish proof of the change and have the judge issue an amended order. A family law attorney may offer guidance and counsel on this matter and other legal issues.