Can You Sue for Back Child Support After 18 in Arizona?


Getting a divorce can be one of the most traumatizing things that can happen in one’s life. This separation from your partner can create a great deal of frustration and even hatred, and that can become worse when one partner refuses to pay the child support required by the court.

Often times, the court has mandated that the noncustodial parent should be responsible for paying some form of support to the parent caring for the child. This can help offset many of the costs that you incur in caring for your child, including educational expenses, medical expenses, clothing, and other issues that arise as the child grows and becomes more independent.

Non-Custodial Parent’s Refusal to Pay Creates Frustration

While you may have a court order that demands that the noncustodial parent pay child support, there are many instances where the noncustodial parent refuses to pay it for one reason or another. This may arise because the parent has lost a job, their economic status has changed, or they simply refused to pay child support.

You can go to court and get an order forcing the noncustodial parent to pay the money, but this is not always effective. If the parent is unable or unwilling to pay, you may face some real challenges.

There are legal means by which this money can be redeemed, usually by garnishing of wages or by some form of forced payment, such as denying the person a driver’s license or even removing a professional license for those who are habitual delinquents in terms of paying child support.

In such a situation, we strongly suggesting contacting a skilled child support attorney to help ensure that you and your child receive the support that you need.

What to do When the Child Reaches 18 Years Old

A common question that many parents have is related to what happens after the child reaches the age of 18. This is an important question to answer because you may be in a situation where you have to provide back child support.

In the court system, money required for the noncustodial parent to pay in child support usually lasts until the child reaches the age of 18 or and less otherwise deemed by the court. It is usually determined that once the child reaches the legal age, the noncustodial parent is no longer required to aid in the care for that child unless he or she goes on to college and it has been determined prior to them reaching the age of 18 that child support payments will continue while the child is going to college.

This will mean that the custodial parent will no longer receive support once the child has reached the legal age. However, what occurs if the noncustodial parent is delinquent in payments and the child reaches the age of 18? This is a question that many parents ask, because they may be in a situation where they have been forced to pay the vast majority of the child care as the noncustodial parent refused to pay the court stipulated amount of money determined by a judge or arbiter.

If You Have Back Child Support Payments, You Are Still Liable

Many parents who are paying child support believe that once the child reaches the age of 18, their obligations come to an end. While it is likely true that they are no longer required to pay child support, they are also under some kind of impression that any money owed as part of back child support no longer is required for them to pay.

This is actually far from the truth. The amount of money determined by the court for a parent to pay is seen as a legally binding contract. Whatever the amount of money that has been determined, it is the requirement of the parent paying child support that they meet all child support obligations as part of the ruling of the court.

And less amended in some way, this parent is obligated to make those payments. The way that the court system and family services view this is that a failure to pay child support is nothing but a breaching of the contract.

Often times, the county will intervene and place a lien against the parent who has not been paying child support, obligating them to make payments to the county or other government agency. This obligation is in place until the child support payment has been completely paid off.

If the parent is delinquent or late in payments, the county will still pursue action to retrieve the owed money. They will then reimburse the custodial parent the amount of money that he or she is owed until the entire obligation is met.

Can You Sue for Back Support After 18?

There are instances where the custodial parent does not want to cause grievance for the other parent and so they have not sought the assistance of the County to help them in retrieving the amount of money they are owed. However, they want to know if they can still take action to get this money.

Once again, this is viewed as a legally binding contract, which means that the person obligated to pay the child support must pay until the entire amount has been fulfilled. If you are in a situation where the other parent has not been paying the child support and the child has reached the age of 18, you still have the legal right to pursue an action against them to retrieve the unpaid money.

Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.

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