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Child support office may cash in on Powerball winnings

Last week we discussed the process by which parents in California may seek a modification to their child support order. One common reason for a parent to seek a modification may be because their income or financial situation has changed. Often a modification is sought when a noncustodial parent loses a job, has another child or otherwise finds that they have less money to go around.

However, sometimes a change in income can be good news for noncustodial parents. Such was the case for the divorced man who recently won the $338 million Powerball jackpot. He opted to receive his winnings as a lump sum, which will total about $152 million – but that number may be knocked down a bit by the back child support he owes.

After he won the jackpot, his county sheriff’s office revealed that the man owed $29,000 in back child support for his five children. While it is possible that he could face jail time if he continues to fail to make support payments, that is not likely to happen. His state’s lottery division typically satisfies all court judgments, including child support, before paying out winnings.

Other options that states have to collect child support include wage garnishment, seizing property and sometimes taking tax refunds.

If your financial situation has changed for better or for worse, it may affect your ability to collect or pay child support. It is important to act quickly and get in touch with your state child support department or with an experienced family law attorney. Failure to make payments without a modification to your order can result in wage garnishment, civil action or, in some cases, even criminal proceedings.