The party can bring a motion for contempt, which can result in sanctions, such as fines, attorney fees, and even jail time.
A successful contempt proceeding requires the party to show that the other party knowingly and willfully violated a court order - that they had the means to pay but chose not to.
1209. (a) The following acts or omissions in respect to a court of
justice, or proceedings therein, are contempts of the authority of
(1) Disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent behavior toward the
judge while holding the court, tending to interrupt the due course of
a trial or other judicial proceeding.
(2) A breach of the peace, boisterous conduct, or violent
disturbance, tending to interrupt the due course of a trial or other
(3) Misbehavior in office, or other willful neglect or violation
of duty by an attorney, counsel, clerk, sheriff, coroner, or other
person, appointed or elected to perform a judicial or ministerial
(4) Abuse of the process or proceedings of the court, or falsely
pretending to act under authority of an order or process of the
(5) Disobedience of any lawful judgment, order, or process of the
Permitted sanctions are detailed in the statute below - each month of non payment is a separate contempt:
1218. (a) Upon the answer and evidence taken, the court or judge
shall determine whether the person proceeded against is guilty of the
contempt charged, and if it be adjudged that he or she is guilty of
the contempt, a fine may be imposed on him or her not exceeding one
thousand dollars ($1,000), payable to the court, or he or she may be
imprisoned not exceeding five days, or both. In addition, a person
who is subject to a court order as a party to the action, or any
agent of this person, who is adjudged guilty of contempt for
violating that court order may be ordered to pay to the party
initiating the contempt proceeding the reasonable attorney's fees and
costs incurred by this party in connection with the contempt
(b) Any party, who is in contempt of a court order or judgment in
a dissolution of marriage
, dissolution of domestic partnership
, orlegal separation
action, shall not be permitted to enforce such an
order or judgment, by way of execution or otherwise, either in the
same action or by way of a separate action, against the other party.
This restriction shall not affect nor apply to the enforcement of
child or spousal support orders.
(c) In any court action in which a party is found in contempt of
court for failure to comply with a court order pursuant to the Family
Code, the court shall order the following:
(1) Upon a first finding of contempt, the court shall order the
contemner to perform community service of up to 120 hours, or to be
imprisoned up to 120 hours, for each count of contempt.
(2) Upon the second finding of contempt, the court shall order the
contemner to perform community service of up to 120 hours, in
addition to ordering imprisonment of the contemner up to 120 hours,
for each count of contempt.
(3) Upon the third or any subsequent finding of contempt, the
court shall order both of the following:
(A) The court shall order the contemner to serve a term of
imprisonment of up to 240 hours, and to perform community service of
up to 240 hours, for each count of contempt.
(B) The court shall order the contemner to pay an administrative
fee, not to exceed the actual cost of the contemner's administration
and supervision, while assigned to a community service program
pursuant to this paragraph.
(4) The court shall take parties' employment schedules into
consideration when ordering either community service or imprisonment,
(d) Pursuant to Section 1211 and this section, a district attorney
or city attorney may initiate and pursue a court action for contempt
against a party for failing to comply with a court order entered
pursuant to the Domestic Violence
Protection Act (Division 10
(commencing with Section 6200) of the Family Code). Any attorney's
fees and costs ordered by the court pursuant to subdivision (a)
against a party who is adjudged guilty of contempt under this
subdivision shall be paid to the Office of Emergency Services'
account established for the purpose of funding domestic violence
shelter service providers pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section
13823.15 of the Penal Code.
1218.5. (a) If the contempt alleged is for failure to pay child,
family, or spousal support, each month for which payment has not been
made in full may be alleged as a separate count of contempt and
punishment imposed for each count proven.
(b) If the contempt alleged is the failure to pay child, family,
or spousal support, the period of limitations for commencing a
contempt action is three years from the date that the payment was
due. If the action before the court is enforcement of another order
under the Family Code, the period of limitations for commencing a
contempt action is two years from the time that the alleged contempt