Past Due Child Support: What to Do When You’re in Arrears

child-supportWhether or not one parent is ordered to pay child support to the other parent after a divorce depends upon the case and how it is handled: by the parties involved, their Arizona divorce attorneys and the court. Yet in the majority of cases, there is some form of child support involved in the divorce decree. What happens when the parent ordered to pay child support doesn’t pay?

When a parent who is ordered to pay child support doesn’t pay, the amount that goes unpaid accrues and is still owed. This amount is often referred to as child support in arrears. In situations where one parent is in arrears on their child support payments, the other parent has access to federal and state laws that can mandate appropriate enforcement processes. Parents who need to find out how to enforce child support payments that are not being paid should contact an experienced Arizona divorce attorney as soon as possible in order to avoid financial issues that can quickly expand with a month, then two, then three of unpaid child support.

The parent who is in arrears on their child support payments may find that the state or county in which they live has a standard policy of “shaming” them into paying by posting pictures, names and child support amounts that have gone unpaid online. To find out whether or not this particular method is used in a certain area, contact an experienced, local divorce attorney.

Shaming techniques aside, federal child support law included in The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 authorizes district attorneys and state attorney generals to collect child support in arrears on behalf of parents who are not receiving the funds as ordered by the court. If a parent fails to pay even after the authorities are involved, there are penalties for nonpayment that can include: denial of passport, freezing of financial accounts, suspension of driver’s license, contempt order, jail time, liens on property, garnishment of wages, etc.

If more than one state is involved in a dispute of child support in arrears, the federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) establishes jurisdiction for the case.

If a parent who is ordered to pay child support is unable to pay, they should not just stop paying. There is a legal action designed to accommodate this exact situation. They should file a motion to request a child support modification. This is a request that the court recalculate the child support amount based on the current financial status.

For more information on how to enforce child support or what to do when your ex is in arrears on child support, please get in touch with one of the experienced Arizona divorce attorneys at SHERIDAN LARSON, PLLC.

Information Not Legal Advice. This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.