Past due child support isn’t necessarily the definitive, tell-tale sign of a deadbeat parent. More often than not, it’s an indicator that the parent is unable to afford his or her child support payment due to changes in circumstances.

Rather than seek out legal counsel attributed to a vulnerable financial position, the owing parent tends not to take action at all. That’s when problems really begin to mount.

If there is a level of unwillingness or inability to pay for child support, there may be severe consequences on the horizon, including criminal charges, steep fines, wage and tax garnishments, and suspension of professional and occupational licensure.

What You Can Do If You Are Past Due

The absolute worst action you can take is to avoid the situation by ignoring it. It’s an increasing problem that does not go away.

The good news is that you can discuss your options with a Phoenix child support attorney at DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC. He or she can help you decide your best course of action that considers the needs and legal requirements of everyone involved. Contact a team member of our legal family care team today by calling (602) 252-1968 or sending us a quick note here.

What Happens to Arizona Parents Who Are Past Due on Child Support?

Arizona state law gives authority to the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to enforce the payment of child support from the paying parent to the custodial parent. However, division representatives must provide you with adequate notification before any enforcement actions occur.

DCSS can utilize the following remedies to collect on past-due child support accounts:

  • Wage and federal and state tax garnishments

  • Seizure of personal property or assets

  • Revocation or suspension of professional licenses

  • Placing a lien on real estate for which you own

  • Charging you with contempt of court

While the preceding list isn’t exhaustive, it gives you a good idea as to some of the actions that DCSS can take to recuperate past-due child support accounts. If you have received a notice regarding action taken against you, make sure you gather the insight from a Phoenix child support lawyer before responding.

Criminal Prosecution Is on the Table

Perhaps the most worrisome part about being past due on child support payments is the fact that state and federal criminal proceedings are available to the state when going after delinquent accounts. If the above-referenced methodologies don’t work, then the state’s only recourse is criminal action.

After all, they want to send the message that it’s not okay to shirk your familial responsibilities from a financial standpoint. Plus, what good does being in jail do anyway? You aren’t able to work when you’re locked up which only makes the problem worse.

There are options available to parents who are unable to afford their child support payments, but it’s up to you to communicate to a legal professional what is reasonably occurring that prevents you from making any payments whatsoever.

One way the court tries to alleviate unfair financial burden from financially stressed parents is by modifying the child support order currently in effect. Courts can’t make you pay money that doesn’t exist, but they do want to make sure that any changes are well-documented and that they have received approval from a family judge beforehand.

That way, everything stays above-board, and you can continue living your life without undue burden or strain.

Why You Should Discuss Your Options with a Phoenix Child Support Lawyer

It is a frightening and intimidating experience to face your ex, your shared children, and the courtroom when you are already behind on your support payments.

Instead of attending your next hearing with your head down, change your approach by retaining a licensed Arizona family law attorney to protect your interests during child support hearings. It’s your right as an American citizen to retain counsel without the implication of guilty or financial means.

Consider Retaining a Phoenix Child Support Lawyer at DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC

If you are facing issues related to past due child support payments in Arizona, don’t wait to act any longer. Contact a Phoenix child support lawyer from the legal team at DesShon Laraye Pullen, PLC. We are available to help you through the process for a better tomorrow. Schedule an initial consultation today by calling (602) 252-1968 or sending us a note through our form.

Various complications often arise for parents in Arizona and elsewhere after divorce. Often, such problems concern child support, custody, visitation or other family matters. If a parent believes there has been a mistake regarding the amount of child support owed, it is best to act alongside experienced family law counsel when pursuing the matter in court.

A man in another state was known as a dedicated father who tried his best to provide for all his child’s needs. In fact, at one point, the court granted him 100 percent time-sharing with his son in light of evidence of the mother’s neglect. In a rather odd turn of events, after the child had lived with his father on a full-time basis for at least two years, the man’s driver’s license was suddenly revoked for alleged back child support payments he supposedly owed.

As a family law firm that has been around awhile, we see a lot of unique situations concerning children. We know that good parenting comes equally from mothers and fathers. We also understand that questionable behavior may come from fathers or mothers – it’s not an issue with only dads or only moms.

Occasionally, a client will cite a statistic he or she has heard to help illustrate his or her position in a situation. One example:

“I’ve heard that the percentage of moms who fail to fulfill any child support obligations is higher than dads who fail to fulfill child support.”

A 24-year-old Phoenix man, who reportedly had sex with a 20-year-old woman when he was 14, recently learned that he has a daughter. Even though he was legally below the consensual age, he is being pursued for back child support.

According to state law, no one under the age of 15 can legally give sexual consent. The man did not pursue charges against his now-ex at the time, not realizing that he could take action. The two of them parted company, and the young man went on to go to college and get a job as a medical assistant. He was served with papers demanding $15,000 in back child support along with interest and the child’s medical expenses.

In Arizona, a child support case can be opened by the state’s Division of Child Support Services for two reasons. If a custodial parent seeks aid from the Arizona Department of Economic Security, that parent also is obligated to seek child support from the non-custodial parent. Secondly, the custodial parent can submit an application to DCSS requesting child support from the non-custodial parent.

The enforcement of child support obligations is taken seriously in Arizona and around the country. Hiding income and discussing it on social media can lead to financial consequences with the courts that ordered payment arrangements.

Two parents avoiding child support payments recently discovered that what they shared on social media sites was being seen by others who may have objected to their large purchases and claims of wealth, while they gave little to the needs of their children. One person bragged about a new recording studio purchased, with child support going unpaid. Another parent was in the habit of posting pictures with wads of cash while paying only $100 of the court-ordered child support. In both situations, the parents are facing charges related to their failure to meet their obligations.

In one case, a child with leukemia and in need of money for medical costs has received a total of $189 in his lifetime though he is more than 3 years old. He has endured numerous spinal taps and treatments, while the parent who fails to support him discusses the money he makes on a personal social media page. An assistant district attorney in Wisconsin reports that these social media posts and pictures can be used as evidence against the parent who does not support a child. The individual is now facing charges for failure to pay child support, which is a felony charge in this case.

When child support has been ordered by the court it is important that it is paid. There are situations where a person is legitimately unable to meet the required obligations due to a change in financial circumstances caused by a job loss or medical emergency. In those cases, a family law attorney may be able to obtain a modification of an existing child support order.

Source: Opposing Views, “Fathers Face Charges For Avoiding Child Support, Bragging About Money On Facebook “, Sarah Fruchtnicht, July 17, 2014

Though we may still muse about the child support plight of the fictionalized man in Kanye West’s 2005 hit “Gold Digger,” a real life case of unknown parentage left one man paying child support for 16 years before he learned that his son was not his. But despite proving this to the courts, a recent decision could have him paying child support but not to the boy’s mother.

Although this case played out in the Nebraska Supreme Court recently, the court’s decision is one that could have far-reaching consequences. That’s because it deals with a very real question that could be asked in any courtroom, including here in Arizona. The question at hand is such: should a person be forced to pay child support even after they have proven that they are not the biological parent?

In most states across the nation, including here in Arizona, there are penalties for failing to pay child support. Here in Arizona, our courts try to give parents who are delinquent on their payments a chance to remedy this error through Accountability Courts. Unfortunately, failing to comply with orders handed down by these courts can result in arrest, much like it is in other states.

But sometimes there is a higher cost to delinquent child support payments. One particular case is highlighting this fact by showing the lengths to which some states go in order to hold parents accountable for these payments.

R. Kelly, a Grammy award winning R&B singer, could be facing jail time if he doesn’t appear in court for a child support and child custody hearing. Kelly’s ex-wife has reportedly filed a motion with the court alleging that he has failed to pay child support. The total owed was not in news reports; however, his payments are currently set at $20,833 each month. That’s for the three children he and his ex-wife have together..

Kelly isn’t new to allegations like these. Last year, he was reportedly behind on his child support payments, owing over $100,000. That debt was apparently paid. However, there is allegedly a debt of several thousands of dollars due to Kelly’s legal team. In addition, there are reports that the singer owes several people who helped create his last album, “Black Panties,” which hit the Billboard chart at No. 4.

In Arizona, both parents are responsible for the support and well-being of their children. For the non-custodial parent, that includes making regular and consistent child support payments. The child support order is an order of the court. If a non-custodial parent is late in the payment of child support that parent can be found in contempt of court.

According to Arizona’s Department of Economic Security, which mandates that single parents pursue child support to qualify for cash assistance, Arizona had 159,117 cases of unpaid child support at the end of May. The total overdue unpaid child support added up to more than $1.7 billion.

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