The Arizona Family Law topic of discussion is the subject of Child Support Enforcement. For a complete overview of Child Support in Arizona please see our article entitled Phoenix Child Support Attorney. When an order of Child Support has been entered, payments are to be made through the “Support Payment Clearinghouse” and not directly to the spouse who is to receive the benefits. This is so the state can have a record of payment and insure that the spouse paying support is in compliance. To protect your rights, please contact an Enholm Law, PLLC Arizona Family Law Attorney for a free initial consultation today.
There are several remedies when a parent is not paying Child Support that include Employment Remedies, State and Federal Level Remedies as well as Judicial Remedies. In Arizona, it is the legal responsibility for every parent to provide financially for their children, natural or adopted. The Arizona Family Law Attorneys at Enholm Law, PLLC are not only aggressive advocates for their client’s rights, they are fierce about the enforcement of any Child Support that is owed.
State Enforcement Remedies
Arizona law provides authority for the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to enforce Child Support payments. DCSS must notify parents of any enforcement actions before they are to take place. A parent receiving such notice is also provided information on how to request an administrative review on how to dispute the intended action. Consulting with an Enholm Law, PLLC Child Arizona Family Law Attorney is the best way to protect your rights if any of these situations are happening to you.
State Tax Offset
State law provides DCSS with the authority to intercept any state income tax refunds. This occurs when Child Support is past due even if payments are being made. The minimum amount of past-due funds is $50.00 for such an order to be in place. DCSS has the authority to take the qualifying past due amount directly out of the state taxes of the parent who is in arrears.
Credit Bureau Reports
DCSS has the authority to report all individuals with an outstanding past due balance on a monthly basis. DCSS must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act and existing federal legislation when reporting. Balances reported are the monthly payment due, any payments received and past due amounts. This will remain on credit reports for 180 days as collection accounts and can affect the ability to acquire loans, credit cards or make large purchases.
Liens and Seizure of Assets
DCSS has the authority to place a lien against unpaid child support on any property, houses or vehicles. The lien remains on the asset until the amount owed is paid. Liens are in the public domain and can be seen by title companies, potential buyers, banks and other lending institutions. DCSS has the further authority to seize bank accounts or other property to collect on past due child support of 12 months or more, of if a court order has been put into place.
Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation
A parent who is in arrears for 6 months or more runs the risk of having their driver’s license suspended or revoked under DCSS authority. Arizona further gives the authority to DCSS to suspend any commercial licenses.
Federal Enforcement Remedies
DCSS has the authority to make requests of the federal government for relief on the federal level. As with state level sanctions, the offending parent must be notified and given the opportunity for administrative review.
Federal Administrative Offset
If the offending parent owes at least $150.00 in back due Child Support payments, DCSS will ask the federal government to withhold funds and send payments directly to DCSS. Some benefits such as social security, railroad retirement and Veteran’s Affairs benefits are excluded from Federal Administrative Offset. Up to 25% of federal retirement benefits can be deducted to pay off the past due amount. Up to 60% of a federal employee’s paycheck may be withheld. Federal Income Tax can be withheld by the IRS even if the parent who is to receive the support is receiving public assistance with a minimum of $500.00 in past due support being unpaid. The IRS can refund up to the amount that is owed.
DCSS has the authority to report unpaid support that is over $2,500.00 to the United States Secretary of State. The Secretary then has the right to refuse to issue a passport, or revoke the current passport of the parent who is in arrears. Arizona will not release a passport until the past due amount is paid in full.
Judicial Enforcement Remedies
DCSS has the authority to file a motion with the Superior Court in Arizona to find the offending parent in contempt of court. This could carry with it fines and/or jail time. Criminal prosecution can result from the willful refusal to pay child support resulting in either a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the severity. Prosecution can occur on both the state and federal levels. Federal prosecution is almost guaranteed if the offending parent leaves the state in an attempt to avoid prosecution.
Employee Enforcement Remedies
DCSS has the right to file a motion with the court to withhold earnings from the parent who is ordered to pay Child Support. Since all employers in Arizona have to report new hires to the state, it is easy for the court to find anyone employed in Arizona. Past due payments can also be taken from unemployment or workers compensation.
Protect Your Rights
As we always state in our articles, there is no substitute for solid legal advice from a compassionate, trial tested, experienced professional. The Enholm Law, PLLC Arizona Family Law Attorney that you meet with for your free consultation will have solid experience with Child Support and Child Support Enforcement in Arizona. Enholm Law, PLLC promises clear fee structures, easy affordable payment plans, comprehensive trial plans, excellent communication and ongoing training in all areas of Phoenix Family Law.
To protect your rights, and the financial support of your children, contact us at (602)889-6273 for a free initial consultation with an experienced Enholm Law, PLLC Arizona Family Law Attorney today.