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Change isn't Always Negative, we can help you move on there is a positive future ahead
By: Sampair Group

Enforcing Unpaid Child Support in Arizona: Legal Measures and Solutions

Phoenix family law attorney

What May Happen If I Don’t Pay My Arizona Child Support?

First, you must understand that Arizona takes the court-ordered child support payment seriously. If you are mandated by the court to pay child support, charges may be filed against you, and you could even go to jail.

You may be ordered to pay child support when you finalize your Arizona divorce or custody dispute. If this occurs, you must meet these financial obligations to support your child or children or face contempt charges.

As you may know, court-ordered child support means that you must pay a specific monthly payment amount to your former spouse for the well-being and care of your child (or children).

Arizona child support orders include information pertaining to which parent will be responsible for paying the child support and may consist of health insurance costs, how uncovered medical expenses are handled, or any extra expenses may be managed.

If you fail to pay your child support obligation, are constantly late, or make partial payments, your ex-spouse can seek to enforce these payments by filing a Petition to hold you in contempt of court.

The Arizona Legislature Statute Title 24-500 et. seq. clearly address this issue and how the court can legally enforce child support payments.

After the Arizona court investigates the issue and finds that you knew about the support order and held the ability to make the payment but failed to do so, you can (and probably will) be held in contempt of court. You may be jailed, ordered to pay a purge amount, lose your driver’s license and be ordered to pay the child support recipient’s attorney’s fees.

If you cannot keep up your child support payments or receive notice that a contempt action has been filed against you, you should immediately contact your Phoenix or Scottsdale child support lawyer.

This severe matter can harshly affect your life and your freedom. The worst decision you can make is just not to pay your child support and do nothing. If your financial situation has changed, then your experienced child support lawyer can assist you in explaining this to the court and help ensure matters don’t get “out of hand.”

Conversely, suppose you are an ex-spouse and are not receiving the child support payments that were previously ordered. In that case, your Glendale, Scottsdale  or Chandler divorce lawyer can file the necessary documents to enforce prompt action to obtain the money you deserve legally.

What Steps Do I Take to Enforce Getting Back Child Support?

If your ex-spouse has not made or missed court-ordered child support payments, you and your child support lawyer should pursue legal enforcement to obtain any outstanding balance owed, plus interest.

You begin this process by having your experienced lawyer file a Petition to Enforce (or “enforcement”) in the Arizona court that initially issued the order.

After your lawyer files your “Petition to Enforce,” the judge will issue an Order to Appear and schedule a contempt hearing for you and your ex-spouse. This court order to appear will be served on your ex-spouse along with the underlying facts, figures, and contempt petition.

You must note that you (and your ex-spouse) must appear at this scheduled hearing. It’s also prudent to have your knowledgeable and professional Arizona child support lawyer present. They will fight aggressively for your rights, and their help will be invaluable if objections arise.

Can I Use a “Wage Assignment” To Collect Back Child Support In Arizona?

The simple answer is yes, you usually can. Remember that each case differs; these facts typically arise during your hearing.

However, If you are owed back support, you and your child support lawyer can file a formal request with the court to receive a wage assignment (better known as “garnishment”) under Arizona child support statutes.

This “court-ordered wage assignment” will require your ex-spouse’s employer to withhold payments for your back child support from the ex-spouse’s paycheck.

Your ex-spouses’ employer will send the withheld funds to the Arizona “Child Support Clearinghouse.” The Clearinghouse will then send them to you, as the parent who should be receiving these funds.

If your ex-spouse is self-employed, this still is a tool your law team can use, but other financial routes and court filings may be utilized. Your lawyer may pursue other means of garnishment or execution action.

Whatever the situation, once the Arizona court orders child support to be paid, you (and your child) are owed these funds. With the help of your diligent, knowledgeable Phoenix child support law team, you can be assured that they will do everything possible to get the funds you and your family disparately need.

What Will Happen If My Spouse Loses Their Job?

This may seem unsolvable but may not be as dire as expected.

Your ex-spouse cannot stop making court-ordered child support payments because they lose their job. A parent’s child support obligations simply do not go away. Any amounts that are not paid will continue to go into arrears and mount up.

It may seem harsh, but if your ex-spouse has assets, they could be seized for back payments you (and your child) are owed. If the proper filings are done, and the court orders this, the local sheriff’s office may seize these listed assets from your non-paying ex-spouse. They then will be auctioned off to pay you the back-child support money owed.

Depending on the specifics of your case, there are many ways your child support law team can act and protect your rights and those of your child. Some are not as harsh as depicted above, and if you and your spouse can agree to a more amicable solution to a problematic situation, then your law team will help you do so.

I Am Owed Court Ordered Back Child Support; What Should I do?

You must note that Arizona’s courts treat child support payments extremely seriously.

However, life changes, and so do situations; if your ex-spouse has sincerely been attempting to pay your child support, there may be more amicable ways to solve the issue than having them do jail time.

Begin any child support discussion with a meeting with your Scottsdale or Phoenix child support lawyer. This truth holds if you are owed child support and are the ex-spouse who cannot pay it.

The experienced, empathetic, and knowledgeable child support lawyers at The Sampair Group have been successfully helping Arizona families in all aspects of child support issues. Call them today at (480) 613-4853 and get the aggressive, thorough, and professional help you and your child need to move on with your lives.