Parents who are owed child support in California or anywhere else may be able to pursue back payments in state or federal court. Typically, cases are resolved in federal court if the parent who is obligated to make payments frequently moves to different states. Federal courts may also get involved if it is determined that there is no appropriate relief available at the state level for any other reason.

Generally speaking, parents who are owed back support will start their pursuit of that money in state court. They must be able to show that they have taken steps to collect the past due balance prior to seeking a judge’s help. A parent may also need to show that the other parent is the father of the child and knew this to be the case. Those who are seeking back support should be ready to show that payments have not been made for an extended period of time.

If the balance is more than a year old, a parent may seek a resolution to the matter through the Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA). In addition to being more than a year old, a parent must generally owe more than $5,000 before a federal court will get involved. Finally, the parent who owes back support must live in a different state than the child supported by the payments.

Individuals who are involved in child support disputes may benefit from the assistance of a family law professional. An attorney might be able to help a parent determine where and how to pursue back support. Those who owe support may also want to work with an attorney to have an order modified or work out a payment plan. Doing so might prevent a parent from spending time in jail.