Your Child Support Payer Is in Arrears: Now What?
If you are a divorced parent receiving child support, you have factored the payments into your budget and rely on them every month. But now your child’s other parent has stopped paying. What recourse do you have to get the funds owed to you?
In Arizona, child support payments generally go through the Support Payment Clearinghouse, a service run by the Arizona Department of Economic Security. It maintains an official record of payments made and any that were missed. Often parents pay child support via wage assignment, by which funds are deducted from the payer’s paycheck, deposited to the clearinghouse and transferred to the recipient parent. Child support payers who are unemployed or self-employed are responsible for sending payments to the clearinghouse directly.
If you are a child support recipient and payments have stopped, you may be able to garnish the wages of the spouse in arrears if he or she is working. Paying spouses who have lost their jobs or have suffered pay cuts can ask for modification of child support orders but they may not skip payments or reduce support without court consent. Consulting an attorney with a successful track record representing clients in child support matters can help you pursue effective remedies. If the other parent is not working, your attorney may ask the court to put a lien on their assets, such as real or personal property or a tax refund. The delinquent spouse can also be held in contempt of court, compelling payment of arrears with interest under threat of incarceration. Other deterrents to child support delinquency are possible, such as driver’s license suspension and passport revocation.
If more than 12 months’ worth of payments totaling at least $5,000 are in arrears and the delinquent parent’s location is unknown, you can report him or her to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, which will post a photo and information on its Child Support Evaders Program web page. The program is dedicated to finding parents who have hidden their locations and employers. It publishes their names and photos and a hotline number at which anyone who has seen them can report them.
If you need help with a child support matter, speak with an experienced attorney at Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. Call 602-789-3497 or contact us online to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.