If you're an Arizona parent facing serious challenges regarding obtaining child support for your children after a divorce, you are not alone. In fact, numerous government website pages publicize photographs and information about parents deemed negligent in their child support obligations. These types of programs exist to help locate delinquent payors to bring them to justice when warranted.
Let's face it. It's difficult enough to make ends meet when raising children nowadays, even in the best of circumstances. Households divided by divorce often face increased challenges to provide even the most basic needs of food, clothing and shelter for their children. Children's financial stability often hinges upon child support payments from a non-custodial parent.
What options do I have to enforce the law?
It can be an overwhelming feeling to know that your former spouse owes thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars in child support, yet not know where to turn for help to enforce a court order when such payments remain outstanding for an extended period of time. There are often several means for enforcing a child support order, including the following:
- In this state, the law authorizes the Division of Child Support Services to take enforcement action against parents deemed delinquent in paying child support. (Such parents must receive written notice that such action will take place and they have the right to request an administrative review to dispute it.)
- Federal and state authorities can divert a parent's tax refund in order to cover unpaid child support balances.
- Under certain circumstances, authorities could seize personal property, as well as bank accounts, when a court order for judgment exists or child support payments have remained unpaid for a year or more.
- The court can find a parent delinquent in paying child support in contempt of court. That parent faces possible fines and time in jail.
- Authorities may garnish work wages of a parent who owes child support. Any amounts withheld from the other parent's wages could include a portion for past due payments.
This list of possible enforcement options is by no means extensive, but provides a basic outline of ways to rectify a problematic child support situation. Delinquency varies from other situations where one or the other parent seeks modification of an existing child support order in court. The latter often involves very legitimate reasons for requesting a change in amount of support or time schedule of an existing payment plan. On the other hand, when a non-paying parent refuses to pay child support when ordered by the court to do so, he or she violates current law.
Most parents in situations like yours wisely wish to avoid personal confrontations with former spouses regarding unpaid child support. Still, many are unsure how best to proceed to resolve such problems in a swift and lawful manner. If you have questions or concerns about a particular situation, you can seek answers by requesting a consultation with an experienced Arizona family law attorney.