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What happens if a parent misses a child support payment?

Child support obligations are generally created through the execution of agreements or the issuing of judicial orders. An Arizona parent may be required to provide their child with monthly payments of support, and those payments may be directed to the child's custodial parent for use. When a noncustodial parent fails to make a child support payment, they may become subject to enforcement efforts to remedy their delinquency.

A child support order or agreement will state when and how a parent is to provide support to their child. If a parent misses their payment deadline, but is able to remedy it quickly, they may avoid the penalties that may attach if the delinquency lasted for a longer duration of time. Multiple missed payments or habitually late payments may violate child support governing documents and cause a parent to have action taken against them.

Enforcement efforts for the collection of unpaid child support can take on many forms. It may involve the garnishment of a parent's pay, or even the interception of their tax refunds. Enforcement could include the suspension of a parent's driver's license as a means of compelling them into compliance, or the denial of a parent's passport application. In extreme cases, a parent who is delinquent on their child support payments may be sent to jail as a punishment for their actions.

Financial changes in circumstances may alter a parent's ability to pay child support in a timely manner. As such, parents should know that they may be able to modify their child support payments in the event of a job change, loss or other significant event.

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