As a single parent, getting the support owed to you likely plays a considerable role in your ability to meet the needs of your children. You may have believed that because child support agreements legally bind the parties involved, your ex-spouse would comply with the agreement terms. Unfortunately, you may have found yourself in a situation in which your court-ordered and necessary payments have gone unpaid.
Unpaid child support seriously affects many people across Arizona. However, rather than simply wondering how you will go on without the support, you may wish to find out what steps could help you obtain your child support.
There are many types of collection efforts available to you, depending on the circumstances of your case and jurisdiction. Wage garnishment and bank account seizure may be the first efforts that come to mind, but potential collection actions also include:
- Liens on property
- Various types of license suspension
- Passport denial
- Interception of workers' comp, unemployment insurance, lottery winnings, tax refunds
- Warrant issued for arrest, which could result in jail time
- Additional fines and penalties
Because you cannot conduct these enforcement actions on your own, you will likely find yourself in court. Though such a step may seem harsh or intimidating, you need only remember that the court issued the support order for your child's benefit. You use the money to provide for your child's needs. . It may help you determine whether following such a route could suit your circumstances.
What if a parent can no longer afford to pay the full amount ordered?
In some cases, a parent may have trouble meeting the required payments due to financial difficulties. However, rather than stopping payments, that parent should take his or her own steps toward addressing the issues. In some cases, modifications to the child support agreement may be warranted if a change in circumstances has occurred, such as:
- Job loss
- Significant change in income
- Custody change
The struggling individual should pursue such modifications through the necessary legal channels.
Life as a single parent may prove difficult enough without having to live with the uncertainty of whether you will receive your monthly child support payments. You may wish to consider your legal options before the unpaid balance adds up to help ensure effective enforcement of your child support agreement.