Is There a Statute of Limitations to Collect Child Support in AZ?

Arizona family law firms, including DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, often are asked questions pertaining to child support. Child support is designed to ensure every child’s basic needs are met. Whether parents were married or not, both have an obligation to ensure their child’s financial security. When child support is ordered by the court, parents should be aware the amount of support is determined by child support guidelines which are imposed by Arizona’s statutory law.

These guidelines provide guidance to the court by taking into consideration the income and expenses of each parent. In cases where the parents share custody, the amount of time which each parent physically has the child may also be taken into consideration. It is important to understand that guidelines are simply guidance: the court may increase or decrease the amount the non-custodial parent pays depending on specific circumstances including health needs, special day care arrangements and more. When one parent has a substantial increase or decrease in the amount they are earning, child support may also be adjusted accordingly. However, knowing all of this information will not address the concerns some parents have when they fall behind on child support payments.

Risks Associated With Non-Compliance of Child Support Orders

When the court orders child support payments, they may be ordered to be paid weekly or monthly. When the order is violated by not making the payments, there are various steps the courts may take in order to ensure the child is being properly supported. Some of the steps may include ordering the non-paying parent to appear in court, assessing a penalty for not paying including a 10 percent interest rate, and when necessary, ordering the wages of the person paying to be garnished.

None of these steps happen overnight which often means there are past due child support payments. During the time the parent fails to pay the past-due amounts, there will be interest accruing on the past due amount. The payer, is typically obligated to make regular payments until such time as the child in question reaches the age of majority, or graduates from high school, generally, this means until they are 18 or 19. There may also be circumstances, such as in the case of a child with special needs, where the support payments must be paid indefinitely. However, the child turning 18 or 19 does not free you from the obligation of past-due payments.  This always raises the question about what happens to the past-due amounts of child support which were unpaid.

Steps Which Can Be Taken to Enforce Child Support Orders

In most cases of unpaid child support, Arizona’s Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) who has numerous legal tools at their disposal to collect child support payments which are owed. While a parent who is supposed to pay child support has the option of requesting a hearing to appeal a decision once they have been notified that DCSS is pursuing collection, some of the steps which may be taken should they lose that appeal include:

  • Income Withholding Order (IWO) – the use of this order applies to current as well as past-due amounts of child support. This order allows for DCSS to have funds withheld from paychecks and issued to DCSS.
  • State Income Tax Refund Offset – anyone who owed $50 or more in past due child support payments may have their Arizona state income tax diverted for the purposes of reducing arrears. It is worth noting  a person who owes child support may also be in jeopardy of losing their federal income tax refund.
  • Seizure of Assets – anyone who has outstanding child support debt may be subject to having their assets seized. This may include, but is not limited to bank accounts including savings accounts and any stock, bond or mutual fund holdings.
  • Credit Bureau Reporting – past due child support payments can and are reported to the major credit bureaus. Any payments which are in arrears for six months or more are reported as collection accounts and will remain on a credit report until such time as the payments are brought current.
  • Passport Renewals – anyone who has child support arrears in excess of $2,500 may face challenges renewing a passport.
  • Professional Licensing – any person who has a professional license which requires renewal may face challenges if they have past due child support payments. Licenses may also be suspended at the discretion of DCSS.
  • National New Hire Directory – many people are unaware there is a federal new hire directory. DCSS can use this directory to locate parents who have fallen behind in their child support payments to enforce child support orders.
  • Home Liens – any person who owes back child support and sells real estate could have the portion of the sale which is owed in child support seized from the proceeds.
  • Backup Income – those who owe child support and are eligible to collect disability or unemployment insurance may find DCSS has seized funds to pay arrears.

As you can see, there are several legal options available to collect past due child support which makes it nearly impossible to ignore.

No Escape From Past Due Child Support

When a person fails to make timely child support payments, the family law firm of DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC  is often asked to assist in obtaining these payments on behalf of the party who was owed the payments. We are fully aware the longer these payments remain outstanding, the more challenging it becomes to collect the payments. The parent who is responsible for making payments is also facing a debt which continues to grow which makes them more likely to avoid paying them in the future. What many people do not understand is unlike consumer debt which remains uncollected, child support payments are not subject to Arizona’s statutes of limitations.

What this means is if the person who owes child support files for bankruptcy they still will be responsible for making the past-due payments, regardless of the amount owed.  If the parent who is entitled to the payments was successful in securing an Arizona judgment, the judgment never goes away either.

Contact The Phoenix Child Support Attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC

When you are facing child support issues, the right attorney can make all the difference. Protect your rights and contact an Arizona child support attorney at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC to schedule an initial consultation. Call our offices today at (602) 252-1968 or (480) 524-1540.

A marriage never starts with the couple thinking they will eventually get a divorce. But between forty and fifty percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Many times, divorce is no one individual’s fault. Sometimes, the marriage just ends.

Regardless of the reason for divorce, it is expensive. Many estimates put the cost of divorce starting in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. And it only goes up from there. The more assets you have, the more expensive your divorce becomes.

Working with a trusted and compassionate Arizona divorce lawyer can provide you the guidance and support you need during this emotional period of your life. The right lawyer can also help you save on costs and make sure you don’t spend more the necessary.

Common Reasons for Divorce

To file for divorce in Arizona, you must have been a resident for at least ninety days. Arizona is also a no-fault divorce state so you do not have to provide a specific reason for your divorce. On your divorce petition, all you must allege is that your divorce is irretrievably broken.

But there are some common reasons a married couple moves forward with divorce. These include:

  • Infidelity
  • Abuse
  • Unrealistic expectations of marriage
  • Lack of preparation
  • Lack of equality in the marriage

Your situation is unique to you. While you may experience one or more of these situations in your marriage, the question of whether divorce is right for your marriage is up to you. You might think what went wrong in your marriage but it’s important to not focus on that but instead what you do next. Deciding on divorce is a difficult decision and one that you should not take lightly but when you have decided, it’s important to work with a seasoned divorce lawyer in Arizona to help you navigate the complex legal process ahead.

Most divorces are not simple, especially divorces involving high net worth couples. Issues needing resolution often include:

  • Parenting time
  • Decision-making authority for children
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Division of property
  • Division of assets

You also need to consider time. Once you file for divorce, there are filing deadlines which must be met, including financial disclosures. These documents are complex and require a deep dive into your financial life. The court requires this information to make sure each person is receiving an equitable distribution of marital assets. During this discovery process, we can also determine if your spouse is hiding assets in an effort to reduce what they may have to contribute to the divorce. It’s shady but we have seen it happen many times.

Why High Net Worth Divorces Cost More

As a high net worth individual, you have more property and other assets which require division between you and your spouse. Sometimes, courts must get involved to split your assets, further increasing the cost.

When contemplating divorce as a high net worth individual, speaking with an experienced divorce attorney in Arizona can give you the confidence you need that your divorce will be handled correctly. One of the most important things you need to understand is your finances. If you know what you have as a couple, you know what a fair distribution might look like. Your lawyer will help you with this step.

High net worth divorces may also be more expensive because they are more likely to be contested. When this happens, courts are often involved and that greatly increases attorney fees. This does not mean you should avoid hiring a lawyer. That can be the worst decision you make.

To ensure you receive a fair distribution of your marital assets, evaluating your full net worth is important but takes time. In addition, some assets may not be marital property. When you got married, most of your assets became marital property and anything you acquired during your marriage might also be marital property. But there are some exceptions which your lawyer can help you determine.

Many high net worth divorces also involve international assets. This creates extreme complexities with your divorce, including possible tax ramifications. This requires the keen eye of an experienced Arizona divorce lawyer with a thorough understanding of high net worth divorces and your specific situation.

In high net worth divorces, alimony payments may also be extremely high. Alimony is used to keep the spouse who may not have been the high earner in the marriage in the same or similar living situation they were in during the marriage. But sometimes, a spouse will conceal property, bank accounts, and other assets to reduce their overall net worth. This results in a reduction of the potential alimony they need to pay.

Don’t Rush

Divorce is expensive. You need to make sure divorce is the right decision for your specific situation. Once you determine it is, then you need to make sure you take it seriously.

We often hear clients say they just want to get divorce over with and move on with their lives. We understand this is a complex and emotionally draining process. But if you don’t do it right this time, you may have to go down this road in the future to make sure you have a fair and equitable distribution of your assets.

Rushing divorce can result in making grave financial mistakes. You cannot correct some of these mistakes after we finalize your divorce. We know it’s painful but let us help you protect your rights.

Speak with a Divorce Lawyer

Many people choose to live together before marriage. That can help reduce the likelihood that the couple’s marriage will end in divorce. But it’s not a guarantee. So don’t ignore how you feel and seek out help right away.

When you have made the decision that divorce is the right choice for you, seek out a skilled Arizona divorce lawyer. The right lawyer can help you protect your rights during divorce proceedings to ensure you do not regret rushing through the process.

Contact us online or at 602-252-1968 today. Dedicated. Loyal. Trustworthy. Reliable.

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.

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