If I have failed to make a child support payment, will I lose the ability to see my children?

Experienced San Francisco County Child Support lawyers will explain to you that in most cases, you will not lose the ability to visit your children. Under California law, both parents of a minor child (i.e., a child under age 18 (Fam C §6500)) have a duty to support that child. Fam C §3900.  However, the failure of a parent to pay his/her child support obligation will not impact the noncustodial parent’s visitation or other privileges granted by a court order. Fam C §3556. 

You will not lose your ability to see your child because the California Family Law system supports and goes to every extent possible to promote the ideal that children have consistent access to both parents. Nevertheless, the failure to pay your child support may result in other civil penalties (such as monetary damages, suspension of your drivers license, revocation of your passport, and wage garnishment) and even criminal penalties like contempt.  For example, California makes the willful failure to provide for a child under the age of 18 a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 1 year in the county jail and a $2000 fine. Pen C §270.

If you are having trouble with your payments due to a change in your employment circumstances or other financial strain, you can approach the Court and ask for a modification of your child support payments. The Court uses a guideline scale based on a computer program to estimate child support payments and will grant you relief if you meet certain criteria. If your ex spouse claims that you cannot see your children based on your failure to pay child support, you should consult a good San Francisco Family Lawyer who can help you adjust your You can contact me at Amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com for more information.