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What Happens When A Parent Is Not Paying Child Support?

As everyone strives to meet their obligations, child support, custody, and other agreements between parents can be challenging. When parents fail to provide for their children despite court orders requiring them, it can be frustrating and stressful for the custodial parent. Parents who refuse to provide child support can face serious legal consequences. Knowing the law, the process, and your rights can help you navigate the legal process, whether you pay or owe child support; this is critical to protecting your child’s best interests. Whenever you have questions regarding the implementation of child support obligations, it is best to contact a trustworthy family law attorney in Scottsdale. Here are the consequences of failing to make child support payments.

Child Support Warrants

Child support warrants are orders issued by relevant courts to detain parents for nonpayment of child support. These warrants are used to bring them before a court to resolve the situation. Judges often issue child support warrants when a parent fails to pay child support for an extended period, owes significant child support, or cannot be easily located. Courts can issue either criminal or civil warrants.

Child Support Civil Warrants

Generally, courts issue civil warrants for child support. The parent who owes child support appears before a judge with a copy of the child support agreement and proof that the noncustodial parent is not making payments. After reviewing the circumstances, a judge may issue a child support contempt warrant if the noncustodial parent fails to comply with court orders to pay.

Noncustodial parents must appear before a judge to explain why they are not paying child support. The court empowers law enforcement to arrest the parent and bring them before a judge.

Child Support Criminal Warrants

Criminal warrants are issued when nonpayment of child support is considered a crime, generally determined by the amount owed. The rules for criminal non-payment vary from place to place, and you should familiarize yourself with them before contacting a prosecutor to request a felony charge.

Asset Seizures and Property Liens

Authorities can seize your property or bank accounts to collect at least one year of back child support or in cases where the custodial parent obtains a court order. They can seize your assets at banks, credit unions, trusts, mutual funds, and other financial institutions. Assuming DCSS is your next phase, liens on real estate, such as the parent’s home, are likely. 

It is easy for DCSS to obtain a judicial lien. Whenever DCSS issues a lien for unpaid child support, potential buyers, creditors, or land registries receive this information. This knowledge may discourage potential buyers or 2nd lenders from helping the person realize equity. A lien remains in effect until a parent pays the child support owed. If they acquire a new property, the DCSS lien extends to that property.

Wage Assignment For The Recovery Of Child Support

Assuming you owe back child support, you should petition the court for a wage assignment under ARS 25-504. This court order requires the non paying parent’s employer to withhold child support payments. You can also call this a wage garnishment. The employer then remits the amounts withheld from the non paying parent’s salary to the child support clearinghouse. The clearinghouse is responsible for transferring the money to the appropriate parent. 

Suppose the other non paying parent changes jobs after receiving your paycheck assignment. In that case, sending a copy of the paycheck assignment to their new employer is best so that child support withholding can resume from the new paychecks. Assuming the non paying parent is self-employed, or you don’t know where they work, you should consider an enforcement action or garnishment.

Driving License Revocation

Arizona has a law that allows the state and counties to deny certain privileges to felons if they do not pay child support. It has resulted in losing assets, practice licenses, and even driver’s licenses. Losing your driver’s license can jeopardize your ability to perform everyday activities. In many professions, driving is part of the job, or at least driving to the office or company grounds. If you are months behind on child support payments, your driver’s license may be revoked, preventing you from driving. In addition, law enforcement can arrest people for nonpayment of child support and for driving without a license. It’s to encourage people to make their payments on time.

Jail Time And Fines

If a parent disobeys court orders, they may face jail time. Assuming a non paying parent is sentenced to jail, the judge will order a lump sum payment, also known as a purge payment, as a condition of the non paying parent’s release.

By making a purging payment, a parent is released from custody. The payment may be a percentage of the existing debt, not the total child support owed. However, the process is different if the case is a criminal case. A local or state prosecutor files and prosecutes criminal cases. In addition, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a criminal violation occurred, which has a higher standard of proof than for civil contempt.

How Can A Child Support Attorney Assist You?

It is worth noting that child support arrangements are not designed to reward or punish either parent. They are designed to ensure that the children of divorced parents are well cared for and live in a safe environment. Moreover, individuals who need help understanding the structure of child support laws may misunderstand them as a structure that ties money to visitation. On the other hand, that is what custody arrangements handle. So if your ex-spouse is not meeting child support payments as required, stop calling them and asking why.

Instead, turn to Jensen Family Law in Scottsdale, Arizona. We understand child support laws and can help parents enforce existing orders. We can also litigate with parents to ensure they- especially their beloved children – get the money they need. Visit our website at https://www.familylawattorneymesaaz.net/scottsdale/ for more information about us.

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Jensen Family Law in Scottsdale AZ, 

7702 East Doubletree Ranch Road #336, 

Scottsdale AZ 85258, 

4805811650

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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.