October 12, 2007 — At the end of September, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that would further bolster the effort to terminate delayed or late child support payments.
On September 26th, the Governator specifically signed legislation by State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Mateo/San Francisco), who proposed giving the power to judges to make unemployed parents responsible for child support find a job by the time of the initial hearing in their child support cases.
Under current California child support laws, it could take months for an unemployed parent responsible for child support payments to be ordered to find a job. Consequently, those unemployed parents would fall behind on child support, ultimately hurting the children dependent on these payments.
Yee's legislation also aims to rid instances of abuse in which parents responsible for child support payments quit a job and take other jobs under the table, all the while concealing their actual income.
Under this new law, child support payers would be required by a judge's order to show proof every two weeks that they have applied for at least five jobs.
Yee's child support legislation will go into law on January 1st of next year and apply to just San Mateo County, which will serve as a pilot program for the rest of California.
Yee was quoted in a Palo Alto Daily News story as saying that his proposed California child support law represents a proactive attempt to get unemployed child support obligors to find jobs and stay current on payments rather than falling behind on them.
In San Mateo alone, the story detailed that 41 percent of child support cases are delinquent after four months. Of even more concern, tracking down the parent who is late on child support can be a formidable task, in modest terms
Iliana Rodriguez, director of the San Mateo County Department of Child Support Services, elaborated in the story that it could take up to nine months to hunt down a person delinquent on his or her child support payments.
While understanding that divorce is difficult for all parties involved, Yee commented in the story that the emotional nature of the divorce process can even cause the most responsible parents to not want to fulfill their child support obligations.
Consequently, he hopes this new San Mateo County child support law will help people find more jobs and meet their payment deadlines while ultimately being extended throughout the state.
For more perspective of this law's reach, San Mateo County is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and includes but is not limited to the cities of East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Mateo and South San Francisco. As of 2005, San Mateo County had a population of 712,462 people.