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In Arizona, as well as in many other states, there are numerous noncustodial parents who owe child support money. In fact, the number in the United States is astounding.
In 2013, fathers paid 19.3 billion dollars in child support with about 33% of the amount in arrears whereas mothers paid 3.1 billion dollars with about 25% in arrears. But the state of Arizona government believes that all parents must commit to supporting their children above all other debt. There are many methods and laws to support the claim of obtaining arrears in child support.
How to File for Back Child Support
Contact the DCSS
In Arizona, you can file for any service at any time, including filing for back child support as long as paternity has been established. The Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is where you can receive assistance to file for back child support. At any office, you can collect the appropriate papers and you can ask your caseworker to assist you in filling out the paperwork for the filing for back child support.
The commitment continues until all of the back support is paid. The judgment for back child support is made for ten years, and if that is not enough time, then the judgment can be revived.
What Happens Next?
Once it has been determined that you are owed back child support, there are many consequences for the noncustodial parent. It is likely that with some pressure you will receive funds.
The state of Arizona, as well as the Federal government, have many strategies to enforce the payment of child support. In fact, it is the first financial obligation that must be met and the DCSS has the authority for many of the enforcement remedies.
Notification of Payment
The first step in the process is for the DCSS to inform the noncustodial parent about the situation, including instructions on how to ask for an administrative review to rebut the enforcement action.
The penalties for arrears range from 25% to 33% of the amount of the arrears. This in itself is an incentive for the noncustodial parent to be on time with the support payments.
Involving the Non-Custodial Parent’s Employer
By law, the DCSS is required to serve the noncustodial parent with an income a withholding order, which is sent to his or her employer so as to withhold the monthly amount for the current support. If it is deemed appropriate, the DCSS may also ask for an additional amount from the employer to pay for the owing support.
State Tax Refunds
The DCSS has the authority to acquire the State Income Tax Refund if as little as $50 is owed and it may seize the full amount of the support owed if the refund check is adequate.
Bank accounts and property can be seized, if the support is in arrears by 12 months.
Credit Bureau Reporting
Every month, the DCSS reports to the credit bureau indicating what is due, what is paid, and any past amount that is owing. The reporting continues until all back payments are made. This may inhibit the noncustodial parent from receiving a loan as the credit rating will be a concern.
Liens on Property
The DCSS may lien a property, including houses. This lien can interfere with the selling of property or obtaining a loan if the property is used as collateral. The lien is removed when the support payments are paid.
If the winning is more than $600, the prize can be seized to pay off arrears.
Suspension of Licenses
Should the noncustodial parent requires a new work license or to renew an existing license, the process can be interrupted by the DCSS if there are 6 months of child support owing. Sporting licenses can be revoked as well.
Contempt of Court
The DCSS can file a motion to find the noncustodial parent in contempt of court, which could result in fines or a jail sentence depending on the circumstances.
Consequences for not Paying Child Support at a Federal Level
- In addition to the above penalties, the DCSS can coordinate with the Federal government to make arrangements for the payments of arrears.
- If at least $150 is owing, some benefits such as social security can be withheld, and the amount can then be sent to the DCSS for the arrears.
- Twenty-five percent of retirement benefits can be deducted.
- If the noncustodial parent completes some work for the federal government then 100% of the amount paid for the work can be acquired for the payment of arrears, 60% of the salary can be deducted, and 100% of travel expenses can be claimed.
- Money for an income tax refund can be requested as well.
- A passport can be denied.
The DCSS may also work with other states to acquire funds for child support payments.
However, despite all of these measures, there still are a sizable number of cases in which back child support is still owing. The state government has a program to support the noncustodial parent who is lacking in the means to earn adequate funds.
The Settlement Program is an attempt to help parents who have severe financial difficulties. You could think of it as a Hand Up in cases where it is unlikely that the arrears will be realized.
First and foremost, the Settlement Program may offer a lump sum to the noncustodial parent to pay off the arrears. This is a win-win situation. The noncustodial parent starts off with owing only the monthly payments whereas the custodial parent receives the support money owed to continue raising the child.
The due interest is stopped now that payments are up to date. The wage withholding will stop for arrears for the noncustodial parent; instead, the sum will be applied to the current amount owing. And the credit rating of the noncustodial parent will be restored.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 if you’re dealing with child support issues today.
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