Child support payments are intended to be used for the expenses related to children’s care and upbringing. Divorced parents in California who pay or receive child support payments should be aware of the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act.

The DPPA is a federal child support law that was created to punish parents who purposely fail to make their required child support payments by relocating to another state. It was enacted in 1998 and can be applied to parents who not only move to another state to avoid their responsibility, but also to parents who owe $5,000 after not paying support for a year or who owes $10,000 after not paying support for two years.

A parent who is assessed a punishment under the DPPA can be incarcerated for up to six months if it is a first offense. For a second offense, the delinquent parent can be imprisoned for as long as two years. A parent in arrears may also be compelled to make up the back child support payments in the amount that is equal to the overdue balance.

There are certain places where parents who are supposed to receive child support payment may file a child support case under DPPA. This includes in any federal court, where the parent has a residence or where the affected child resides and the state where the child has not received his or her child support.

Child support payments are necessary to meet the financial needs of a child. A family law attorney may assist a client who is having difficulty obtaining the child support he or she was awarded. After examining the factors surrounding the case, the attorney may petition the family court to initiate collection procedures against the offending party to obtain the delinquent payments.