What happens if you don't pay child support

Not paying court-ordered child support on time can lead to serious problems.

If you don't pay required child support:

You could lose your license or passport 

If you're behind in your child support payments you may not be able to get or renew a:

  • Driver's license
  • Professional license (like medical, realtor, attorney, contractor, or other state license)
  • Passport

You could face other financial consequences

If you're past-due on your child support payments, the State of California may:

  • Report you to the credit bureau, so your credit rating goes down
  • Take money from your benefits, like workers' compensation and disability and unemployment benefits (this is called a "benefit intercept")
  • Take money you get when you sell property or things you own (these are called "property liens")
  • Take money from your state or federal tax refunds (this is called an "income tax intercept")

If you are more than 60 days late on your payments and owe $100 or more, you may have your assets seized. This means that the state could take money from:

  • Bank accounts
  • Commissions
  • Dividends 
  • Rental income
  • Royalties
  • Tax returns

Get help

If you're struggling to pay child support, don't ignore the problem. If you do, it will get worse.

There are things you can do to get help navigating the system.

The Department of Child Support Services has experts who can help. 

Learn more about getting help.

Last updated October 31, 2022