Former NBA Player Matt Barnes Orders to Pay $133k in Back Child Support

Matt Barnes, former NBA player for the Golden State Warriors and current ESPN basketball analyst, has been ordered to pay $133,976.54 in child support to his ex-wife. 

Barnes and ex-spouse Gloria Govan separated in 2014 and finalized their divorce in 2016, but not before the couple had twins. Initially, Barnes was ordered to pay $20,000 per month to Govan for the kids, but this was reduced to $7500 a month in 2018 after he received sole physical and legal custody. 

The custody change occurred after Govan allegedly used her car as a weapon to prevent Barnes from picking up the children on his designated custody day. Barnes also received a restraining order against Govan on behalf of the children, permitting her only four hours of visitation a week in the presence of a professional monitor.

Despite the change, however, Barnes is still responsible for paying Govan as per the court order. If you have been ordered to pay your co-parent support, regardless of your custody arrangement, it’s critical to understand your obligations so you don’t face a similar bill.

When Is Back Child Support Ordered?

Child support is one of the strictest financial obligations you could have. California and federal law require parents to care for their kids until they’re adults, and will enforce support orders to ensure this happens. Failing to pay for any reason can lead to “back support” orders, in which you are ordered to pay the entire amount you are delinquent in a lump sum, occasionally plus interest or punitive fines. If you continue not to pay, you may face wage garnishment, the loss of your tax return, and other penalties. 

Common reasons that retroactive payments are ordered include:

  • The payer disagrees with the order and refuses to pay
  • Their finances changed, and they stopped paying rather than pursuing a modification
  • They missed a payment by accident

While it is not clear why Barnes fell behind in his payments, it is almost certain that the situation was more complex than one missed check. He now must pay nearly 18 months of payments in a bulk sum.

Avoiding Back Support Payments With an Expert Family Law Attorney

The best way to avoid back support orders is to avoid becoming delinquent in your payments. It may be worthwhile to automate your payments so you don’t accidentally miss one. More importantly, if you disagree with the ordered amount or if your finances change, requesting a modification through the courts is crucial rather than refusing to pay. Child support is intended to ensure children receive the care they need, not to place an undue financial burden on either parent. At the Viola Law Firm, P.C., we have decades of experience assisting our clients with pursuing fair child support orders in California. We are available to assist you with requesting modifications and avoiding unnecessary back payments. Learn more by contacting our San Mateo child support law firm for your consultation today.

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