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What can I do if my ex-spouse stops paying child support?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Child Support |

For divorced parents in Riverside, California, who depend on child support, when the ex-spouse ceases these payments, grave consequences follow. However, child support is not a discretionary gesture. It is a legal obligation designed to share the financial responsibility of raising children.

Significance of child support

Again, child support is not merely a benevolent act. It is a lawful responsibility shared by both parents, crafted around their income, expenses and the children’s needs. It is meant to cover the child’s essential costs like food, shelter, education, healthcare, etc. This is pivotal to ensure the well-being and stability of the family. When a parent halts these payments, it can lead to not just the financial strain and emotional stress of the parent, but also the child’s wellbeing.

Direct communication

However, just because the other parent has stopped paying does not mean that you do not have options. First, initiate a conversation with your ex-spouse. It can sometimes lead to an amicable resolution. Sometimes, it may be advantageous to explore options like payment plans or some temporary modification, if your former spouse is facing financial difficulties.

Riverside County Department of Child Support Services

Second, seek help from the Riverside County Department of Child Support Services. Seeking assistance from DCSS, a government agency, can aid in locating your ex-spouse, establishing paternity, modifying or obtaining a child support order and employing various enforcement methods. DCSS garnish wages, levy bank accounts, initiation tax refund interceptions and begin other enforcement actions. These include license suspension, passport denial, contempt of court and even criminal prosecution.

Go back to court

Filing a motion with the Riverside County Superior Court allows you to request the judge’s intervention in enforcing your child support order. The judge may order your ex-spouse to pay the overdue child support, along with interest and penalties, or impose sanctions such as community service, fines or jail time.

Avoid in child support disputes

Amid the frustration and anger resulting from halted child support, it is essential to avoid actions that could detrimentally impact your case or your children. Attempting to harass or threaten your ex-spouse to resume payments is counterproductive and may lead to legal repercussions or violence.

Separating visitation rights from child support is also crucial. Restricting access to children should only occur with valid reasons like abuse or neglect. Otherwise, it may harm your children emotionally and legally.


Child support is significant, and if your ex-spouse discontinues payments, you have legal avenues to pursue. Contacting DCSS or filing a court motion are viable steps to enforce your child support order. It’s equally important to refrain from actions that could jeopardize your case or adversely impact your children.



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