Danny Tartabull, a 50-year-old former All-Star right fielder who played 14 Major League Baseball seasons before retiring with an injury in 1997, has just been given another top ranking: top non-payer of child support in LA County. According to the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department, Tartabull is in arrears by $276,204.93 in child support owed to his two sons, and he is on the run from the law.
In California as in most states in the U.S., non-payment of child support is a serious issue. Every parent is expected to contribute to the support of his or her children, and failure to do so can result in being held in contempt of court. Penalties range from loss of the non-payer’s driver’s license and any professional licenses to jail time, in certain circumstances.
That said, people refuse to pay, or are unable to pay, their court-ordered child support and other financial obligations for a number of reasons. Some are impacted by a sudden, significant change in their circumstances, such as a job loss, that can materially impact their ability to pay. In such circumstances, the family courts are very open to temporary or even permanent modifications of child support, but you do have to ask. Changing your child support though a private agreement with your kids’ other parent will not legally change the amount you owe.
Tartabull reportedly made more than $33 million over his 14-year career, during which he played for the Oakland Athletics and five other teams. He has not indicated why he refuses to support his children.
In 2011, Tartabull pled no contest to contempt of court for nonpayment of child support and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He did not appear for transfer and has been on the run ever since.
Whether you owe $250,000 or $2,500 in back child support, the best way to resolve it is in family court. The earlier you let your children’s other parent and the courts know there is a problem, the better your chance will be to avoid having the problem escalate into a contempt of court ruling, or criminal charges. If you are owed a substantial amount of unpaid child support, you may find that your enforcement efforts go more quickly with the assistance of an attorney.