ARIZONA FAMILY LEGAL SERVICES
Penalties for Non Payment of Child Support
When parents separate or divorce, it is hard on any children they may have together. The non-custodial party must support that child, even if they are not present. This support comes in the form of child support. Child support is determined by the courts and ordered as a part of a divorce decree or custody arrangement. When a parent is not paying support, penalties may be inflicted by the court up to and including imprisonment.
What is the law regarding child support in Arizona?
In a court case regarding a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or child support, the courts may order that support be provided without regard for any marital misconduct. A.R.S.§ 25-320 outlines the law regarding child support, factors, the proper methods of payment, definitions, and enforcement provisions.
Custodial and Non-Custodial Parties
The custodial party in matters of child support and other injunctions is the parent in which the child lives with. In custody agreements where the custody is split between the two parties, the custodial parent is the one who spends the majority of the time with the child in most cases. The custodial party is determined by the court when they assign legal or physical custody to one parent over the other.
The non-custodial party still retains some rights when a court order is established. A non-custodial party retains the right to be able to access their child’s medical and school records. They also have the right to share holidays with the custodial party. It is still their responsibility to pay child support for their child and report any possible signs of abuse they may witness. Other rights that the non-custodial party is entitled to are generally listed within specific custody agreements.
Guidelines for Establishing Support
When determining a child support amount for the non-custodial party to pay, the court will take multiple factors into mind. These factors often include:
- The financial resources and the needs of the child
- The financial resources in regard to the custodial parent
- The standard of living that the child would have received if the marriage or parents had remained intact
- The needs and financial resources of the non-custodial party
- Medical support and obligations of the child
- How much parenting time is occurring between the parties
Non-Support of a Dependant
The legal term used for non-support of a dependant by a non-custodial party is called “failure of a parent to provide for child”. In the state of Arizona, the non-support of a defendant is a class 6 felony offense. The punishment for this can include up to one and a half years in prison.
Actions that may be taken against a non-paying non-custodial parent may include:
- Court actions that could in the non-custodial party being incarcerated
- Liens could be placed on personal or other real property owned by the non-custodial parent
- Suspension of license and driving privileges
- Interception of state and federal tax refunds
- Seizure of bank account
- Denial of a passport issuance
- Adverse reporting on the credit bureau reports
- Interception of lottery winnings
- Interception of unemployment insurance
- Interception of worker’s compensation benefits
How can I enforce my child support order?
If you find yourself in a situation where a non-custodial party is not paying child support, the first step is to consult with an Arizona family law lawyer. These lawyers are skilled at handling court cases regarding the non-payment of support and the rights of the custodial party. When you find yourself in a situation where child support is not being paid, make sure you get a consultation with an Arizona family law firm.