Obligor is the legal term for someone who owes money to
another person. The 10 tips listed below apply to child
support, whether the parents were married or not. They also
apply to spousal support obligations.)
Be sure that you, your attorney, or the court has
put your support order in writing, usually a Judgment or
an Order. Without a court order, you don't
have the right to use legal channels to collect your past-due
support. And, in many cases, a court can only order a support
obligation to start from the date certain papers are filed.
Therefore, use a qualified attorney, paralegal, government
agency or other method to obtain your court order as soon as
Have a certified copy of your support order recorded in
any county where you believe the Obligor lives, owns real
estate, or may own real estate in the future.
In California, this will create a real property
“lien” which may help you secure your debt against
the Obligor’s real estate.
Keep complete records of all payments made and missed by
the Obligor. A copy of each check with a notation
as to when it was received is very helpful. Avoid cash,
if possible. Make notes about all conversations you have
with the Obligor regarding the support obligation, especially
when you request payment. Note any witnesses that overheard
or witnessed your conversation.
NEVER enter into any oral agreements regarding your support
obligation. If you do enter into an agreement, make
sure it’s in writing and only after first consulting
with an attorney.
Keep copies of all letters (with their envelopes) that you
have sent to, or received from, the Obligor or their attorney.
When mailing letters to the Obligor, send them certified
mail with a return receipt requested so that you have proof
of the letter’s receipt. Keep all returned mail.
NEVER deny visitation of your child to the Obligor.
If a non-custodial parent has a court order that entitles
them to visit their child, the denial of that right could
be a defense for not paying the support obligation. If you
have a concern as to the health or safety of your child,
immediately consult with an attorney.
Stay in touch with the Obligor, his friends and relatives.
Collection is difficult when little or nothing is known
about the Obligor. Try to remain aware of where the Obligor
works, lives, banks, as well as his hobbies, his vehicles,
his general lifestyle, his vacations, etc.
Stay informed if the Obligor is self-employed; try to discover
how his business operates. Who are his repeat clients?
Does the business operate as a partnership, a corporation
or as a sole proprietor? How and where does he get new business?
Who are his major suppliers?
Support debts may be enforced against a variety of income
and assets. Many common, but less obvious assets
include, lawsuit settlements, lottery winnings, unemployment,
pension plans, cash value of life insurance policies, country
club memberships, inheritances, and many more, so remember…
DON’T GIVE UP! In California, Support obligations
are enforceable until PAID IN FULL. You are also entitled
to 10% simple interest on every support installment that
is not paid. And, you may be entitled to penalties and attorney
fees! However, you must keep trying and remain diligent.
New laws are being introduced and new cases are being decided
which strengthen your ability to enforce your court order
for support. You deserve your court ordered support.