What can I do When my Ex Stops Paying Child Support?
There may be various enforcement actions available to you when an ex defaults on court-ordered child support payments, and these options can include (but may not be exclusive to):
- Court enforcement actions , such as:
- Jail time, which can result from findings that the parent who has defaulted is in contempt of court – The court has the discretion to determine how much jail to order, as well as whether additional fines may be imposed.
- Criminal prosecution, which can involve either misdemeanor or felony criminal charges – In these cases, the amount of the arrearages, as well as when the last payment was made, will be factors considered when determining whether misdemeanor or felony charges are filed.
- State administrative remedies , which can include:
- Wage garnishments, which will involve notifying an employer that a certain amount of money is to be withheld from a parent’s paycheck each month to cover the child support arrearages
- The interception of tax refunds, including federal and/or state tax refunds
- Asset seizures, which generally come into play if the default has persisted for more than 12 months
- Credit bureau reporting, which can result in unpaid child support payments (outstanding at least 180 days) appearing as collections on credit reports
- Other possible remedies , such as:
- Drivers’ license revocations
- Ineligibility to obtain a passport
- Garnishments of unemployment and/or workers’ compensation benefits
- Administrative enforcement agency in Arizona – The Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is the administrative agency in Arizona that has the authority to take action when child support payments go into default. By law, the DCSS is required to send out notifications to parents about enforcement actions being pursued against them due to alleged defaults on child support payments. These notices outline how to dispute the given action.
- Use of custody as a leverage for child support – It’s important for parents to understand that, when child support defaults occur, withholding parenting time from the nonpaying parent is not the answer; this can only create more legal problems.
- Modifications of child support orders – When parents are know they are unable to meet their child support obligations, requesting a modification of these orders from the court – rather than not making the payments – is preferable. The court can review the financial circumstances in these situations and decide whether to reduce the award (or terminate altogether).
If you need help securing child support, enforcing child support orders or resolving any family law matter, you can rely on Scottsdale Family Law Attorney Karen Schoenau for honest answers, effective representation and the best possible outcomes to your case.
To receive professional advice and learn more about how we can help you, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau. You can set up this meeting by calling 480-209-1918or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.
From her offices based on Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including in Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.