Busting Some Child Support Myths in Arizona
We know that you never thought you would ever be going through a divorce or separation, much less looking into the possibility of needing an Arizona family law attorney. However, one of the most important aspects of separation when there are children involved is the continued support of those children.
Both parents remain responsible for caring for their children. The Department of Economic Security Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is the agency responsible for handling child support after a court order.
If you are the parent paying child support, we know you have probably heard many different things about child support, but we want to make sure you know about some of the myths floating around. Today, we want to dispel some of these myths and work to ensure you get the help you need.
The myths we need to dispel
- If you don’t have custody or visitation, you don’t have to pay.
This is not correct. When child support is ordered by the court, it is typically a monthly obligation that is in regardless of how much custody time or visitation you have.
- The other parent left the kid with me for the month, so I don’t have to make the usual child support payment.
While we understand that you may have had more parenting time than usual likely paid more money than you would have, you still need to make a child support payment. If you are having issues with custody (if the other parent is not doing what they should be doing), you can petition the court for a modification of custody or visitation along with a modification of child support.
- I can stop paying child support when the child turns 18.
If your child is still in school when they turn 18, you will need to continue paying child support until they graduate high school, but not past their 19th birthday. Whichever comes first.
- I don’t have to tell DCSS if I lose my job and cannot make payments.
You certainly need to tell DCSS if you lose your job and cannot make your payments. DCSS will review your case and determine whether you are eligible for a modification.
- If I quit my job, my child support payments will be lowered.
You cannot quit your job in an attempt to lower your child support payments.
Click here for an article on 6 common myths about child support in Arizona.
There are consequences for not paying child support
Please understand that the state of Arizona takes child support very seriously. Failing to make your court-ordered child support payment is a crime. In Arizona, “failure of parent to provide for child” is a class VI felony that can land you up to 1.5 years in prison.
Even if you owe an amount that does not rise to a felony level, you could still face jail time and a fine under a misdemeanor charge.
Your back-child support amount does not go away and will continue to draw interest until it is paid.
Let us get to work for you today
We know that you never expected to be in this situation. Life is not predictable, but we know that you want to ensure your child is cared for. When you seek assistance from an Arizona family law attorney, whether you need help for the entire divorce process or just child support, you are either:
- Receiving child support and want to ensure you get the right amount.
- Are paying support and want to ensure you are paying the right amount.
- Are seeking a modification to current child support payments.
Please understand that you cannot change any court-ordered child support payments on your own. This must be done through a modification approved by the court.
Click here for information on effective co-parenting in Arizona.