What Happens When an Arizona Child Support Payment is Late?
Child support payments affect both formal spouses and the minor children dependent on them. The parent who doesn’t get the payment is worried about ensuring a sufficiently high quality of life for the children. The parent faced with paying child support may sometimes struggle with the provision of the respective amount. There can be repercussions when in Arizona child support payment is late. This is scenario in which enforcement remedies will often be utilized for the purpose of collection.
Arizona Enforcement Remedies
The Division of Child Support Services in Arizona (DCSS) is the entity responsible for enforcement remedies and the collection of late child support payments. Before such measures are utilized, both of the parents have to be informed by DCSS.
There are several measures that DCSS can rely on for the collection of child support. The most commonly utilized tools include the following:
- An administrative income withholding order: this order is issued for the purpose of collecting child support automatically from the income of the responsible parent. The order is sent to an employer and the respective sum is taken out of the wage every single month.
- Asset seizure: property and bank accounts can be seized by DCSS for the purpose of involuntary child support collection. This tool will be utilized whenever the responsible parent hasn’t paid child support for a period of at least 12 months.
- Income tax refunding interception: DCSS has the authority to intercept state income tax refunds. This enforcement remedy can be utilized whenever some payments are late, even if the parent is currently providing child support.
- Liens on property: a lien can be placed on property, including houses. The lien will remain valid until all of the child support is paid.
- Credit Bureau reporting: unpaid child support will affect a person’s credit history because DCSS will make a report. This fact could make it more difficult for an individual to qualify for a loan and get a new credit card in the future.
- Suspension of professional licenses: DCSS in Arizona has the authority to suspend or revoke professional licenses whenever child support payments are six months late.
Other Possible Repercussions
The enforcement remedies aren’t the only issues that a person who fails to pay child support will face. Judicial action and even federal enforcement remedies are possible under certain scenarios.
DCSS can file a motion with the Arizona Superior Court. State and federal criminal prosecution are possible depending on the past due amount. A parent could be charged with either misdemeanor or felony under the circumstances.
The federal enforcement remedies include federal administrative offset (whenever at least 150 dollars are owed in support) and federal income tax return offset (also in the case of at least 150 dollars of unpaid support).
Disputing Enforcement Remedies
The payment of child support is a very serious issue that Arizona courts will not take lightly. Under certain circumstances, however, the parent who has failed making the payment can dispute the DCSS enforcement actions.
Attorneys will advise their clients to start making the child support payments as soon as possible. Even if the payments are partial, the willingness to fulfill one’s responsibility will be seen as a positive thing in court.
Demonstrating that you do not have the funds required to pay child support is another plausible defense scenario. Unemployment or another serious change in life (disability, a chronic medical condition, etc.) are serious enough reasons that will necessitate the reconsideration of the child support arrangement.
Keep in mind that whenever a support order is issued, you will have to follow through with it even in times of financial hardship. The consequences when in Arizona child support payment is late, are almost always immediate and disputing such measures can be a lengthy and challenging process.