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.

NBA star and former Phoenix Suns player Steve Nash recently returned to Arizona but not to play basketball. Instead, he returned to Arizona to continue his heated divorce proceedings regarding child support and whether or not his ex-wife and children will be moving to California.

Nash has previously stated many times that he does not think his ex-wife and children should move to Los Angeles, where he currently lives. This issue has turned into a child support debate because if Nash’s ex-wife and children move to California, Nash may be required to pay child support to his ex-wife under California law.

Whether in Arizona or another jurisdiction, it is a federal crime to leave the United States for the purpose of avoiding the payment of child support. One man from a northeastern state allegedly fled the country six years ago to skip out on child support and other marital obligations. When he recently returned, federal officials were waiting for him at the airport with an arrest warrant.

The case has made national news because it has been reported the man owes approximately $1.6 million in overdue child support payments. That sum is said to be the highest amount of outstanding child support owed throughout the country. At the time he left the country, he was reportedly making $280,000 annually as an anesthesiologist, owner of several pain management clinics and owner of a phone-card company.

When the parents of a minor child separate or divorce in Arizona, child support typically becomes part of the equation for the non-custodial parent. An interesting case from another state has raised important issues concerning the obligation to pay child support. It addresses situations where a parent fraudulently induces the other to pay child support under circumstances where none is required.

When an Arizona mother and father of a young child decide to separate, whether they are married or not, child custody and child support issues come to the forefront. The news media is full of stories reporting efforts to enforce child support orders throughout our state. Regularly, arrests and contempt proceedings in our courts occur in an attempt to get recalcitrant non-custodial parents to pay past-due obligations. But when a non-custodial parent moves out of the country, collection attempts typically become a horse of a different color.

Arizona readers know Dennis Rodman as a former NBA star and Hall of Famer who maintains a lifestyle that many would consider flamboyant. But it turns out, in some respects, he’s just like many of the rest of us. He got married, had kids, and later got divorced. Along with that divorce came child support and spousal maintenance payments, sometimes as much as $50,000 monthly for child support alone. And therein lies the rub.

It turns out that Rodman, just like a lot of other noncustodial parents, could no longer keep up the gargantuan child support payments. Some will point out, and perhaps correctly, that he seems to have continued to maintain his gregarious way of life, including his sometimes multicolored hair. But he has also been fighting with his ex-wife since their 2004 divorce over support issues.

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