For decades, public defender’s offices in Arizona have provided free legal services to those who were unable to provide for their own defense. They have become an integral part of the court system, helping to preserve the opportunity for a fair trial for defendants, by ensuring those who were unable to pay for representation are still able to have legal representation during criminal proceedings.

The purpose of the public defender’s office is to handle criminal trials and proceedings. Because a criminal trial can result in a person losing their freedom, and maybe even their life, public defender’s offices across the country provide valuable legal assistance to help in these kinds of matters.

Hired by the county, these attorneys provide invaluable services for free, ensuring that the rights and protections guaranteed by the state and federal Constitution are adhered to. Also ensuring that there is a fair trial, that affords the person the opportunity to properly defend themselves.

The Public Defender’s Office Covers Criminal Charges, Not Family Law Issues

While the public defender’s office provides free services for those who are facing criminal charges, the public defender’s office is unable to provide assistance in other kinds of legal matters. What this means is that if you are facing issues related to the other parent failing to pay child support or your own issue with paying child support, this office will be unable to assist you.

The truth of the matter is that not much funding is available for counties to be able to offer assistance to those who were unable to hire an attorney. Because of the limited amount of funds, they are only able to handle criminal types of proceedings. This means that civil matters, like child support are not handled by the public defender’s office, even if one or both parties involved cannot afford an attorney. However, you should be aware that the public defender’s office would represent a parent who has a criminal charge against them for failing to pay child support.

In the state of Arizona, a person can go to jail for up to 18 months for failing to pay their court ordered child support. Because this moves from a civil proceeding to a criminal one, the public defender’s office can assist the person facing the criminal charge in their court proceeding. However, they only represent them for the criminal complaint. They are not involved in seeking a reduction in child support payments or in seeking custody of the children.

How Can You I Get Help With Child Support Issues?

If you are finding yourself in some kind of issue related to child support payments and you are unable to pay for an attorney to assist you, it does not necessarily mean you have to battle this out on your own. There are legal aid offices within the state of Arizona that offer free assistance to those who are indigent or who only have a limited amount of money to pay.

These legal aid offices often will provide free legal services for the parent who is owed child support. While this may seem unfair to choose one parent over the other in matters such as these, the truth is the welfare of the children is the most important element involved in these proceedings.

When the parent who has the children is not receiving child support, it means the children may not be being cared for as they need. They could be neglected as a result, which is simply not acceptable. This is why legal aid is more likely willing to help.

However, for the parent obligated to make support payments, you should be aware that there are some instances where legal aid will help. This is true if there is a gross miscarriage of justice that is occurring or a serious question related to the legality of the support involved.

Legal aid can do a number of things to help recoup the child support owed. Not only can they seek to have wages garnished or bank accounts frozen and money retrieved, but they can also petition the court on your behalf to take other kinds of measures to “encourage” the other parent to meet their obligations.

For the Best Results, Work With a Skilled Family Law Attorney

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need legal advice on what to do with an issue related to child support, contact us here at JacksonWhite. We can setup a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys, who can give you advice and options on what kind of actions you can take, regardless of which side of the child support payment you are on.

Our attorneys have over 20 years experience in these kinds of cases, and will be able to provide you with sound legal advice that can help you to get your child support matter handled quickly and with your best interests in mind. If you find that you are unable to pay the legal fees involved, we will work with you to set up a payment plan that works within your budget. You will get the best legal advice and representation available, while being able to do so within your budget.

You need someone to assist you, who will represent you and protect your rights and interests. Contact us today so we can set up an appointment for you to meet with an attorney as soon as possible.


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

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