Understanding California's Proposed Child Support Evader Law

A child support order is a civil judgement that dictates when and how often a parent is required to pay child support. California has very strict laws when it comes to issuing and enforcing child support orders. In fact, the court won’t even grant a Divorce Decree unless the child custody order has been calculated and approved by a judge.

Child support payments are intended to provide for a child’s:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Education
  • Health care

Parents can face severe legal penalties and even jail time for unwittingly or intentionally skipping child support payments. The only way a parent can modify a child custody order is to prove to the court that they’re facing significant and lasting financial hardships. For example, a parent can’t be expected to pay the same child support amount if they lose their job or are struggling with an expensive and debilitating medical condition.

Despite the legal consequences, some parents try to get out of making these crucial payments, and often to the detriment of their children. Fortunately, California is adopting an interesting tactic to make child support evasion a thing of the past.

Assembly Bill 1498

On February 22, 2019, California lawmakers proposed a new law that publicly shames parents who owe more than $5,000 in child support payments. Per Assembly Bill 1498, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will develop a public website that lists known information about delinquent parents.

Each entry will contain an obligor’s:

  • Name
  • Picture
  • Outstanding child support owed
  • Number of children
  • Last known zip code

Assembly Bill 1498 has appropriately been nicknamed “The Child Support Evader Law.” If the bill is passed, the website will go online in 2021. The purpose of this law is to pressure delinquent parents into making their payments and providing for their children. Other states – including Texas, Arizona, and Illinois – already have websites up and running. The DCSS has been able to locate many delinquent parents with the help of the general public.

The bill’s author is Tom Lackey, a Republican member of the California State Assembly. In a recent interview with ABC7, he explained: “What we’re trying to do is use a very effective tool called peer pressure that actually allows people to shape their behavior in a positive way. Because where we need to focus is not so much on the offender, but we have to be reminded that there’s a very, very serious victim here and that’s the children.” In another interview with CBS, Lackey added that the custodial parent has the authority to decide if the delinquent parent’s information should be posted on the website.

An obligor will only be posted on the website if:

  • They have been in arrears for 12 months
  • They haven’t made a payment in 6 months
  • They aren’t in jail or prison
  • They haven’t filed for bankruptcy
  • They aren’t receiving state assistance

Delinquent parents will receive a 60-day notice to correct the matter before their information goes online. The only way to have their entry removed from the website is to make consistent payments for 3 months straight.

Have Questions or Concerns? Schedule a Consultation Today!

Contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich if you have questions about modifying or enforcing a child support order. Our Riverside County child support lawyers can assess your situation and help you explore your legal options. If necessary, we can represent your interests in court and help you secure a positive case outcome that benefits your child.

Contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich at (951) 687-6003 to schedule a free consultation.


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