Evander Holyfield Held in Contempt for Failure to Pay Child Support

Five time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Evander Holyfield, has reportedly been held in contempt for failure to pay over $500,000 in child support. He was ordered to pay $2,950 per month towards the debt, plus a percentage of his income. How does someone end up owing so much child support?

In California, both parents have an obligation to provide support for their minor children. This support obligation is deemed a parent’s first and most important obligation and takes precedent over payment of other debts. Therefore, once a child support order is entered by the court, that support amount remains due and payable each month, until and unless a new court order is made. Many people assume that if their circumstances change, for example, due to loss of employment, disability, etc., and they can no longer afford to pay the amount ordered by the court, they can simply stop paying support. However, simply stopping making child support payments can have dire consequences. Not only will “arrears” accrue for each month child support is not paid, but interest accrues on those arrears, normally at the rate of 10% per annum. Thus, failing to make timely child support payments can actually put you in a far worse position than you would have been otherwise. In Holyfield’s case, it appears that he hasn’t paid support for quite some time and is now suffering the consequences for it.

If you are unable to make your child support payments due to loss of employment, reduction in pay, disability, etc., the best thing to do is to file a motion with the court to modify support. That way, you can change the amount of support owed legally. This is a far better option than simply failing to make payments or making reduced payments without a court order. Keep in mind also that a verbal agreement from the other parent to stop paying support, or to pay a lower amount of support may not protect you. Unless you have a court order modifying support, you remain legally obligated to pay support pursuant to the prior court order. At Mello & Pickering, LLP, we represent clients with various child support issues. If you are having trouble making your child support payments, don’t take the risk of accruing substantial arrears and interest. Similarly, if you are a parent who is owed support and have not been receiving support per the court’s order, you are likely due arrears and interest on those arrears. Contact us at (408) 288-7800 to set up a free 20 minute consultation and we can provide you with your options.