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What are the penalties for late child support?

Late child support payments have serious consequences for children and their custodial parent. However, Arizona provides child support enforcement remedies for delinquent payments.

The state's Division of Child Support Services has the power to enforce penalties for late support payments. It must notify parents before it takes any action and notify them that they can request an administrative review to contest these actions.

DCSS must issue an order withholding income to take support from a delinquent parent's earnings. These orders are sent to the parent's employer and may also other late payments in addition to the current delinquency. Support payments may also be deducted from unemployment compensation weekly benefits.

Federal and Arizona law allows the interception of any state tax refunds for owed amounts even if the parent is making current payments. DCSS may offset tax refunds for any late support payments of at least $50.00 to the total amount owed. Lottery winnings over $600.00 may also be seized.

This agency may also seize bank accounts to collect amounts that are at least 12 months in arrears when there is a court judgment. These accounts may be in institutions such as banks, credit unions, savings and loans, trust companies and mutual funds.

Late payments are also reported to credit reporting agencies each month. Support that is delinquent for at least 180 days is reported as collection accounts. These reports jeopardize loans, credit card applications and large purchases.

The DCSS recently received legal authority to suspend professional or occupational licenses when support payments are at least six months late. It does not have to seek court approval. DCSS may also revoke recreational licenses such as hunting or fishing licenses.

DCSS may also file legal actions seeking contempt of court citations where imprisonment or fines may be imposed. It may request the state attorney general's office to take criminal action for willful nonpayment of support.

Federal law also has enforcement remedies. These include withholding federal tax refunds, salaries and benefits. Also, the federal government may deny passport applications and allow enforcement and registration of support orders in other states.

A parent dealing with late child support payments has the option to seek legal assistance. An attorney may help provide many options for enforcement and compliance with support orders.

Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security, "Enforcement remedies," Accessed June 8, 2017

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