As has been addressed on this San Joaquin County family law blog, child support is the payment of money from one parent to another for the support and maintenance of their shared children. Generally a noncustodial parent is required to provide child support; that is to say that if a child does not live with a parent or if a parent does not have physical custody of a child then that parent will be required to pay support for the child's upbringing. Though both parents are generally expected to provide for their kids, custodial parents do so on a daily basis through physical contact with their children.
When a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay child support he or she is told how much money is required and how often it is to be paid. Child support is often set up as a recurring obligation, paid monthly at a set amount. However, individual orders or child support agreements may stipulate different terms and therefore individuals with questions about their particular obligations should speak with their family law attorneys about their particular issues.
If a parent who is required to pay child support falls behind on her obligation or stops making payments she may face enforcement efforts on the part of her child's other parent. Enforcement can include but is not limited to garnishment of a parent's wages, losses of certain licensures and legal privileges, and other penalties.
Some noncustodial parents may be eligible for the COAP program. COAP stands for Compromise of Arrears Program. Through the COAP program a parent may have his child support obligation reduced or eliminated. Individuals who wish to learn more about this option should speak with their legal counselors.
If a parent is behind on his child support or is consistently making delinquent payments he may wish to seek a modification to his child support order. A modification changes the terms of a child support plan and may result in an obligation that better accommodates a parent's ability to provide for his or her children.