In Arizona, there are many parents who have an obligation to pay court-ordered child support. In 2014, Arizona had the highest divorce rate in the United States at 67%, whereas the national average is between 40% and 50%. This fact suggests that many parents are paying child support since child support comes into play in the dissolution of most marriages and support payments are mandated by law.
How to Find Out if Someone is Paying Child Support
The simple answer is that every parent in Arizona is required by law to pay support for their children. So, it is logical that if parents have been divorced, you can assume that the noncustodial parent is paying support to the custodial parent.
There may be some cases in which this may not be true due to personal circumstances, but those cases would involve wealthy individuals who may not require funds to raise the child. There could be cases in which the paternity of the child has not been established and therefore no child support is needed. But for the majority of cases, it is prudent to assume that the noncustodial parent is very likely required to be paying child support.
Now that the courts are awarding close to equal parenting time, the amount of child support is more dependent on the parent’s income than where the child lives. In the majority of cases, since the father usually earns more than the mother, it is the father pays the child support.
Who Pays for Child Support and How Do They Make Payments?
Perhaps your question is more pragmatic. It might be “How to find out if someone is actually paying child support?” You may want to determine if the individual parent is up to date with the required support payments. How you ascertain depends on who you are and your individual needs.
Non-custodial Parent: Employed
The payment of support is not directly from one parent to another. There is an agency that receives the support payment, makes a record of the amount, and then issues a check to the custodial parent. Eventually, many support payments are made through a wage assignment.
The employer of the noncustodial parent receives a wage assignment order from the court instructing the employer to deduct the support payment from the employee’s wages and send that amount to the Support Payment Clearinghouse. The amount of child support can be up to 50% of the salary.
From there, a payment is made to the custodial parent. If the noncustodial parent is working, it is safe to assume that support payments are being made. If the parent leaves the workplace, retires or is terminated, the employer must notify the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS).
Non-custodial Parent: Self-Employed or Unemployed
If the noncustodial parent is self-employed or does not have a regular income, the wage assignment approach is not suitable. The parent must make the payments to the Support Payment Clearinghouse.
What Happens if Child Support is not Paid?
In Arizona, the law states that child support payments must be paid before any other debts. If the payments are not made, then the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is notified. This government agency has many options in seeking payment.
Child Support Enforcement Remedies
By law, the DCSS has the authority to seek support payments in a variety of ways. Some of these avenues are open to public knowledge. By seeking out the appropriate information, you can determine if the support payments are being made.
State Tax Refund
The DCSS can recoup funds from a tax refund if the amount owing is over $50.
If the child support is in arrears for 12 months or more, bank accounts, mutual funds, and property may be seized by the DCSS for the payment of child support.
Credit Bureau Reporting
The DCSS reports to the Credit Bureau on every child support case every month and continues reporting until the case is up to date. If you are in a position to provide a loan to the noncustodial parent or if you are an employer who is about to hire the individual, you would contact the credit bureau to determine the credit rating of the individual.
Liens on Property
The DCSS may place a lien on the property of the noncustodial parent. Liens are made available for public knowledge and an individual can search for any liens.
The DCSS can acquire funds from lottery winnings for payment of child support.
The DCSS may have a driver’s license, an occupational license or a recreational license suspended or revoked.
Contempt of Court
The DSCC can file a motion in court which may lead to a fine or time in jail. Court records are open to the public.
The DCSS can initiate prosecution by criminal law in the State or at the Federal level. Court records are open to the public.
Withholding of Federal Benefits
The DCSS may request the Federal government deduct funds from retirement benefits, vendor payments, salary, and expense reimbursements to offset support payments.
Federal Income Tax Refunds
The DCSS may request the refund amount to offset support payments.
The noncustodial parent who owes support payment may not be able to obtain a passport.
Any new hires must be reported to the DCSS so they can track the noncustodial parent and start wage assignment procedures.
Un-employment Insurance benefits
Support payments can be deducted from the UIB.
Workers Compensation Benefits
Support payments can be deducted from the WCB.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.