Understanding Child Support Enforcement in the State of Arizona

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Understanding Child Support Enforcement in the State of Arizona

Post  Admin on Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:03 am

Parents who fall behind on their child support payments are subject to state, federal and judicial enforcement strategies.

Family law courts throughout Arizona frequently order parents to make child support payments. However, due to a conscious choice not to pay, the loss of a job, a reduction in earnings or any other number of factors, some parents may fall behind on their payments. Regardless of the reason why a parent is in arrears, state and federal law include provisions for the enforcement of child support orders. These remedies are meant to ensure that parents fulfill their court-ordered financial obligations toward their children.

Income withholding orders

State law provides for a number of child support enforcement remedies. When a child support order is issued in the state, Arizona's Division of Child Support Services, or DCSS, is generally required to submit an income withholding order. According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, these orders inform employers of the monthly amount that is to be withheld from parents' earnings for their child support.

Furthermore, some orders may include additional withholding to repay back support.

State enforcement

Beyond issuing withholding orders, the state also has a number of other child support enforcement options. When parents owe at least $50.00 in past due child support, the DCSS is able to take their state income tax refund. Those funds are then applied to their balances. Additionally, DCSS has the authority to seize property and assets when parents are behind at least 12 months. This may include bank accounts, and other assets. In some cases, liens for unpaid child support may also be placed on certain properties that are owned by parents who are in arrears.

Those parents who are behind six months, or more, on their payments may also be subject to license suspensions. According to DES, the DCSS is able to suspend a parent's professional, occupational or recreational licenses. Additionally, parents could have their driving privileges suspended or revoked.

Federal enforcement

In addition to the state's potential remedies, there are also federal child support enforcement options. These potential actions include the following:

Passport denials
Intergovernmental income withholding
Federal income tax refund seizures
Federal administrative offsets

Typically, the enforcement of child support orders first falls to state agencies. However, the federal government has the option to also step in and may do so in serious, interstate and habitual non-payment cases, as well as in other situations.
Judicial enforcement

Sometimes, failing to pay child support may result in judicial actions. Since child support orders are legal court orders, neglecting to follow through with payments could result in contempt of court charges. In some cases, the state may pursue misdemeanor or felony charges against parents who are in arrears. When a parent willfully chooses not to make their support payments for at least two years, he or she may be subject to a felony criminal charge at the federal court level, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Seeking legal professionals help

When parents in Arizona, fall behind on their child support payments, it may put a strain on their child's other parent. In some cases, this may have an adverse effect on the custodial parent's ability to adequately provide for his or her child. As such, those parents who are owed back child support may consider consulting with a legal professional. Working with professional may help them to understand their options for initiating child support enforcement efforts.

#family #law, #child, #support, #maintenance

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