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What happens when one does not pay child support?

Raising children in Arizona can cost a large sum of money. They have many basic needs like food, clothing and shelter as well as medical costs, extracurricular activities, recreation and entertainment needs and others. Parents are required to pay these costs whether they are together or not. Whether the parents are divorced or were never married, the law requires that the both parents contribute to the financial needs of the children which is why courts order parents to pay child support.

However, the child support order itself is only a piece of paper and does not take money out of the paying parent's account and give it to the other parent. The order is only effective if the money is given to the appropriate parent.

Therefore, there are enforcement remedies in place. One is that the parent receiving child support can seek an administrative income withholding order, which forces an employer to pay the child support amount to the county as opposed to the parent owing child support. The county can also intercept state tax returns and take any arrears from those and pay the appropriate parent.

In addition to the above remedies the state can also place liens on property and seize assets. They can also report the arrears to credit reporting agencies, which affect the parent's credit score. If none of these work, the parent's license may be suspended and potentially the judge could put the parent who is in arrears in jail.

Many parents in Arizona have to pay child support each month. However, not all of these parents actually pay their child support obligation. If they do not pay they will be in arrears and the receiving parent and/or the state can take a number of different actions to either collect the money or strongly encourage the parent to start paying. Experienced attorneys understand the importance of child support and may be able to help ensure payment.

Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security, "Arizona Child Support - Enforcement Remedies" accessed on January 11, 2016

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