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What To Do When Your Child’s Parent Isn’t Paying Child Support

Your children have a right to be financially supported by both of their parents. This right continues until each child has turned 18 and graduated high school, or until the child’s 19th birthday. You and the other child’s parent may be able to amicably come to an agreement about paying child support without ever getting the court involved. You also may have had child support ordered as part of your settlement agreement or litigated divorce decree. Either way, there may come a time when your child’s parent begins to consistently fail to make their child support payments. If this does happen, it’s important that you know your rights and how to proceed. 

If Paternity Hasn’t Been Established

If you and your child’s father weren’t married when your child was born and he didn’t sign the birth certificate or an affidavit acknowledging paternity, you will need to first establish paternity before the court will order him to pay child support. You will need to file a motion with the court to compel the child’s father to submit to DNA testing. If it is a match, paternity will legally be established and the court can order child support payments. 

If You Have an Informal Agreement

Your options of enforcing child support payments will be limited until you have a court order to support you. When applying for court ordered child support, you may request payments for up to 3 years prior. This doesn’t mean that you need to collect child support within 3 years of it being due- once child support is owed, it’s owed forever until it’s paid. It means that if you have no support order in place, you may only request it for the last 3 years of your child’s life. For example, if your child is 14, you will only be able to request payments for when the child was 11-14 years old. Depending on when your child graduates high school, you will be barred from requesting support when your child is 21 or 22 years old. 

 You will need to file a motion with the court and have it served on your child’s other parent. You will then both appear before the judge, who will take both of your wishes into consideration but ultimately rely on Arizona’s child support guidelines. This is a calculation using each parent’s income and parenting time to determine which parent should be paying, and how much. Once child support is ordered by the court, you will be able to pursue the collection methods below if the other parent misses payments. Another benefit of having an official court order is that back payments will accrue interest. 

How to Enforce Your Child Support Order

Once you have a formal court order and the other parent has missed payments, you will need to contact The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) to enforce the order. Contacting DCSS should motivate the parent to pay, because they will be facing serious consequences once DCSS is involved. These include:

  • Wage garnishments: Also known as income withholding, the past due amount and/or current payments will be taken directly from the other parent’s paycheck. Unlike wage garnishments for most debts that range between 15-25%, garnishments for domestic obligations can be as high as 50% of that parent’s wages. This amount increases to 60% if the parent doesn’t have any other children or a dependent spouse. An additional 5% can be added if the parent is more than 12 weeks behind on payments. An additional benefit to wage garnishments is the embarrassment from their employer knowing about their child support arrearages may pressure the other parent to pay. Other forms of income such as worker’s compensation, retirement benefits, and unemployment benefits, may be garnished as well. 
  • Tax Refund Offset: If the other parent is more than $50 behind on child support payments, their tax returns may be diverted and paid to you. 
  • Credit Reporting: Once the parent is more than 180 days behind on support payments, DCSS will report the past due balance with the credit bureau. This will decrease the other parent’s credit score and make it more difficult to obtain new lines of credit. 
  • License Suspension: If the other parent falls more than 6 months behind on child support payments, DCSS will suspend or revoke that parent’s licenses. A professional license, such as a contractor’s license or an attorney’s bar licensure, can be suspended without a hearing. DCSS may also request a hearing to revoke or suspend the parent’s driver’s and recreational licenses. 
  • Property Liens: DCSS may place a lien on the other parent’s property such as their house or car. When this occurs, the parent must satisfy the past-due balance to be able to sell or refinance the property. 
  • Asset Seizure: If your spouse is more than 12 months behind on child support payments, DCSS may garnish that parent’s bank account directly. 
  • Lottery Winnings: Any lottery winnings of $600 or more will be seized and redirected to the custodial parent if the lottery winner is behind on child support payments. 

Child Support Modifications

All too often, we receive requests from parents looking to reduce their child support arrearages. As mentioned above, once child support is due, it’s due. Support payments can only be modified going forward. A hearing for a child support modification can be requested at most once per year. The modification will only be granted if the noncustodial parent has experienced a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances.” 

Child support arrearages also can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Chapter 13 may help you catch up on your payments while reorganizing other debts, but Chapter 7 will not liquidate domestic obligations like it does for most other debts. 

Our Phoenix Family Attorneys Can Assist

Whether you need help obtaining or enforcing a child support order, or you need to request a modification, our experienced family law attorneys are here to help. We have years of representing clients just like you in Arizona and pride ourselves on skillful representation at a competitive rate. Call to schedule your free consultation today. 

Co-Parenting After a Divorce in Phoenix

On Monday 5/25/2020 on behalf of Phoenix Divorce Attorneys writes:For many people in Phoenix, Joint custody arrangements can be exhausting, tiresome, and stressful.  This becomes a lot more difficult if you have a contentious relationship with your ex-partner. Parents in Arizona who are going through a divorce might worry about how it will impact their children. Co-parenting takes a lot of effort but even more co-operation on the part of parents who are co-parenting.
Making shared decisions, such as interacting with each another at drop-offs, or just being civil when speaking to a person you’d rather forget all about can seem like impossible ask. However, for the sake of your children, it is important to overcome.  Thus, it is possible to get past these co-parenting challenges and develop a cordial working relationship with your ex. Maintaining a functional co-parenting relationship is possible, but it requires the parties to try to work together.  Co-parenting is what is best for your children.

Plan For the HolidaysBirthdays and holidays can be tough for children. Therefore, instead of having your kids go to two different events, (one for each parent), there is a better way.  A simpler solution would be considering simply having one event where both parents are there together. This solution is one that prepares parents to be together at events that will only happen once, such as funerals or weddings. Although, some parents are not yet ready for this level of togetherness.  
Another idea is for these parents to try to support the child’s relationship with the other parent. This includes listening when the child has issues with the other parent.  Plus, helping the child (or children) with the relationship in the same way the parent would with another family member. Additionally, children must never be made to feel as though they have to choose between their parents.  Though this often happens, it is important not to put your kids in this no win position.

Also, children need reassurance that both their parents love them and that they are not the reason for the divorce. Another thing that can easily happen. Keep in mind, one reason parents may have divorced in the first place is because they agree on very little.  However, it can help children adjust if their parents can agree to the same set of rules in both households.
Cooperation Is KeyWorking together can begin during the divorce process. Cooperation is the key.  Co-parenting hinges on co-operating with that same person that you recently disagreed with so much that you divorced.  Plus, because of the best interest of the kids, parents may be able to reach an agreement about child custody and child support without having to go to court.  However, parents can also build a healthy co-parenting relationship after litigation by following the agreed upon parenting plan.  In the parenting plan, they address any concerns they have about such details as when the child will meet a parent’s new partner or which parent is responsible for taking the child to certain extracurricular activities.  Alas, following the parenting plan is one of the easiest ways to co-parenting in Arizona.Additional Co-Parenting InformationIf you are a divorced parent in Arizona who is trying to co-parent, contact our office for additional information.  Give our Phoenix Divorce Attorneys a call at (602) 509-0955.  Our attorneys deal with divorce and co-parenting instances of all sorts in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima Counties in Arizona. 
Our Phoenix, Arizona family law attorneys have helped countless individuals throughout the state of Arizona find success in their Arizona divorcechild supportchild custody, and other family law matters.  In other words, don’t delay in getting the help you need, speak with an Phoenix Divorce Attorney today. 

Phoenix Family Law Lawyers

Expert Family Law Attorneys in Phoenix

Handling matters pertaining to family law issues can be a very daunting time for all individuals involved. From divorce to child custody, chances are, you’re probably wondering how to resolve your legal issue in a timely and cost effective fashion. At My AZ Lawyers our family law firm in Phoenix, Arizona understands that you need to see results fast. With great pride and integrity, our Arizona family lawyers will always provide you with the highest level of respect and expert advice physically possible. When you allow one of our Phoenix family law attorneys to represent you, you’re receiving the edge that your case deserves.

Arizona Cities We Assist with Family Law Issues

When you’re looking for the best Phoenix family law attorney, it’s critical to end your search with a lawyer from My AZ Lawyers. At our Phoenix based law firm, we aren’t only able to assist only those residing in Phoenix, but extend our services to those in all of the East Valley and West Valley surrounding Phoenix as well as the cities of:  Scottsdale, Glendale, Avondale, Gilbert, Chandler, Sun City, Mesa, Tempe, and surrounding communities in Maricopa County.

Currently, our Phoenix Family Law Lawyers are able to provide legal assistance pertaining to Phoenix family law to all cities in the metro Phoenix area and other communities in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Speak With A Phoenix Family Law Lawyer Today

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If you’d like to speak with a Phoenix family law attorney from My AZ Lawyers about how we can further assist you in your legal matter, it’s important to speak with us as soon as possible to begin working toward a solution for your legal matter.  Remember—if you’re having trouble dealing with your case, putting off your legal matter any longer will only harm your potential outcomes. To better aid those residents of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Avondale, and surrounding communities who are struggling in a tough economic time, our Maricopa County Family Law Attorneys are proud to present various financing options available to those in need which we encourage you to ask about during your initial meeting with an attorney. To schedule your free legal consultation (either in office or by phone) with a Phoenix, family law lawyer, call our attorneys right now. (602) 568-7410.  We’re waiting to assist you.


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The Phoenix family law lawyers of My AZ Lawyers with locations in: Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Avondale, and Tempe.  Represent clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale,  Mesa, Chandler, Sun City, Gilbert, Peoria, Surprise, Avondale, Apache Junction, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, North Phoenix, Queen Creek, Apache Junction,  Casa Grande, Anthem, Sierra Vista,  Prescott, North Scottsdale, Tucson, Sedona, Flagstaff and other communities in Maricopa County, Pinal County,  Yavapai County, Pima County, Coconino County and throughout Arizona.







My AZ Lawyers provides comprehensive family law representation for clients across Metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, including Maricopa County, Yavapai County, Pinal County, Gila County and Coconino County, and the communities of Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, Chandler, Prescott, Florence, Apache Junction, Flagstaff, Payson, Globe, Sun City, Anthem, Ahwatukee, Gilbert and Payson.

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