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Deadbeat Parents: How to Enforce Your Arizona Child Support Order


I read an interesting article the other day about a man named Corey Curtis in Wisconsin. Mr. Curtis is the father of nine children with six different mothers. According to the news article, Mr. Curtis owes almost $100,000 in back child support. The fact that Mr. Curtis has multiple children by multiple women and is not paying child support is not what made this story newsworthy. What made this article interesting is that the family court judge, exasperated by Mr. Curtis’ failure to take responsibility for his children by paying his child support, ordered, as a condition of his probation, that he not procreate until he can demonstrate to the court that he can provide for his children. Under Wisconsin law, this type of legal restriction is permissible.

The problem with deadbeat parents is a nationwide problem, including in Arizona. Here in Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio conducts an annual deadbeat parent roundup. These sweeps are aimed to locate and arrest the parents (usually fathers) who are not providing court-ordered financial support for their children. Sheriff Arpaio points out that the purpose of his “Operation Don’t Be a Deadbeat” roundups is to send a message to parents to pay their child support. This is one of Sheriff Joe’s programs I can support.

The failure of a parent to pay child support can impact all of us. According to a 2011 Census Bureau Report, more than $35 billion dollars in child support was owed nationally in 2009. Among the more than 6.9 million custodial parents who were awarded child support in 2009, only 41.2% received the amount that was due. 29.2% of custodial parents nationwide received none of the child support money they were due. The lack of payment to support these children naturally results in the need for more government programs to assist single parents who do not get consistent support. Other government resources, such as courts and child support enforcement agencies spend millions each year to track down deadbeat parents.

In my experience as an Arizona family law attorney, the best strategy to enforce the non-payment of child support is to be aggressive and consistent. State and federal laws make it a crime to not pay child support. Too many single parents, mostly mothers, simply do not have the ability or resources to try to enforce child support orders. One good resource in Arizona is to contact the child support enforcement division of the Arizona Department of Economic Security. AZDES has many resources to assist in the enforcement of child support orders. Among the remedies available to AZDES is to seize assets of a non-paying parent, place liens on the property, intercept lottery winnings, suspension, and revocation of drivers’ licenses, and report non-payment to credit bureaus.

Another option is to hire an experienced Arizona family law attorney to file a child support enforcement petition and/or motion for contempt. An enforcement or contempt action is brought before a family court judge, usually, the judge that handled the original divorce. The process includes filing a petition and serving it on the non-paying party. The court then sets an Order to Show Cause hearing and requires the non-paying parent to come into court and explain why he or she is delinquent in paying their child support obligation. The court can impose any number of remedies under Arizona law, including garnishment, attachment, liens, etc. Status conferences on frequently set so the court can continue to track the progress of the non-paying parent. More significant remedies can be imposed, including jail and criminal charges for failure to pay child support. I frequently hear some individuals threaten to file bankruptcy on back-child support. This is an idle threat because child support is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy court. A child support arrearages never will go away and just keeps accruing interest for years and years to come.

Any parent that is owed back child support should take aggressive measures to enforce the child support order. Making a non-paying parent stand before a judge and explain his or her failure to take care of his or her children is an uncomfortable thing for most parents. In many cases it is not a matter of ability to pay, it is a matter of motivation. With the proper motivation, many deadbeat parents begin working on delinquency. Non-payment of child support is a serious matter with serious consequences that affect all of us. The answer to non-payment is not often going to be a court order prohibiting procreation (although it is not a bad idea). A better answer is more accountability and consequences. Aggressively enforcing your child support order with court action may be all the motivation your ex-needs to do the right thing.


Our team of family law attorneys and divorce attorneys look forward to helping you when you need it most. With over two decades of aggressive divorce, child custody, child support, and divorce mediation representation we will not allow you to be taken advantage of. We believe in making a difference in the lives of our clients and their children.


Mesa, AZ – Office

Located in Mesa Arizona, on Val Vista and Southern Avenue. Our Family Law Attorneys and Divorce Lawyers in Mesa AZ have been helping our clients achieve the legal results they are searching for. Our Mesa Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Mesa AZ
3740 E. Southern Ave Suite 210
Mesa, AZ 85206
(480) 999-2321
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/mesa

Chandler, AZ – Office

Located On Dobson Road, just North of W. Chandler Blvd, near the 101 Freeway. We have a team of the Best Divorce Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys in Chandler Arizona. Our Chandler Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Chandler AZ
333 N. Dobson Rd #5
Chandler, AZ 85224
(480) 632-2083
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/chandler

Gilbert, AZ – Office

Located in South East Gilbert, Near Higley High School on Pecos Road, West of Power Road in the Power Ranch Neighborhood. Our Gilbert Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Gilbert AZ
4365 E. Pecos Rd Suite 138
Gilbert, AZ 85295
(480) 900-2302
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/gilbert

Florence, AZ – Office

Located in the Community of Anthem in Florence Arizona, off of Hunt Hwy. Our Florence Law Firm is staffed with family law attorneys that offer Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Florence AZ
3281 N. Hunt Hwy Suite 111
Florence, AZ 85132
(480) 632-1120
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/florence

Glendale, AZ – Office

Located in Glendale Arizona, off of Hunt Hwy. Our Florence Law Firm is staffed with family law attorneys that offer Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Glendale AZ
7075 West Bell Road Suite 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
(602) 834-8585
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/glendale/




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Jensen Family Law in Mesa is located on 3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210, 85206 Mesa, Arizona. From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Take S 41st St to E Sky Harbor Blvd, then head west on E Sky Harbor Blvd and Use the left lane to take the exit toward S 41st St. Then Turn right onto S 41st St. After that, Continue straight to stay on S 41st St, then Take AZ-202 Loop E, AZ-101 Loop S and US-60 E to S Val Vista Dr in Mesa. Take exit 184 from US-60 E after that Merge onto E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Use the left 2 lanes to merge onto AZ-202 Loop E toward Tempe/Mesa and Use the right 3 lanes to take exit 9 to merge onto AZ-101 Loop S. After that, Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 55A-B to merge onto US-60 E toward Globe, then Take exit 184 for Val Vista Dr. Then Continue on S Val Vista Dr to your destination and Turn left onto S Val Vista Dr. Turn right onto E Southern Ave, then turn left and Destination will be on the right.

We’re open 9 AM – 5 PM Monday – Friday and we are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional questions you can call us at (480) 999-2321 or you can find us on Yelp.