Scottsdale Child Support
Child support enforcement is a critical issue that can significantly influence a child’s well-being and quality of life. Ensuring that the obligated parent fulfills their financial responsibility towards the child can sometimes prove challenging.
Our Scottsdale child support enforcement attorneys exercise a no-nonsense style of practice and are upfront about the strength of your positions so you can make appropriate and informed decisions about your family law matter.
Why Choose BTL Family Law as Your Scottsdale Child Support Enforcement Attorney?
Having a dedicated team by your side can make a significant difference in enforcing child support payments. At BTL Family Law, our Scottsdale family law attorneys understand the intricacies of child support enforcement in Scottsdale, Arizona, and are committed to helping you navigate this complex legal path.
Seamless Navigation and Effective Representation
Child support enforcement involves legal nuances that parents may find complex and stressful. Our team is proficient in Arizona’s child support laws and can guide you seamlessly through the entire process. Every family’s situation is unique, and we respect that. We listen carefully to understand your particular needs and devise a strategy that aligns with your child’s best interest.
We will ensure your voice is heard, whether it involves negotiation, mediation, or courtroom representation. Our skilled attorneys are adept at representing your interests assertively. We prioritize maintaining clear and open communication, informing you about each development, and ensuring you understand your legal position thoroughly.
When dealing with essential matters like your child’s well-being and financial security, you need an experienced, compassionate legal team by your side. Let our team support you in enforcing and securing a stable economic future for your child. Reach out to us today to learn how we can assist you.
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The lawyers at Burggraff Tash Levy know that choosing the right divorce attorney is a personal matter. This is why you will never feel any pressure during your consultation. We are here to answer your questions, discuss your options, and help you understand your rights.
Child Support Enforcement Laws in Arizona
Child support is a court-ordered payment typically paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, intended to cover expenses associated with raising the child. These expenses may include everyday living costs, health care, education, and other costs that contribute to the child’s overall well-being. The overall goal of child support is to ensure that the child enjoys a similar standard of living as they would if their parents lived together.
Child support is a legal obligation of both parents, regardless of whether they were married or lived together at any point. It’s important to note that child support payments are separate from visitation rights – a parent can’t be denied visitation based on an inability to pay child support, and similarly, visitation difficulties don’t excuse a parent from paying child support.
Child support orders often accompany divorce decrees and child custody determinations. However, they can also be their own standalone order, too. This is particularly true if you are legally separated or you were never married to the child’s parent. Child support provides vital funds to ensure that a parent has appropriate resources to take care of the child. It helps assist with food, housing costs, medical needs, education expenses, and a lot more to ensure that the best interests of the child are being served.
Consequences of Failure to Pay Child Support
Failing to pay child support or even paying child support late can seriously harm the custodial parent and the child involved. Because child support is determined by the court, failing to pay is actually a violation of a court order. As a result, all kinds of negative consequences can result from the failure to pay.
Unfortunately, the threat of adverse actions does not stop some people from simply declining to provide for their children as the court orders. Thankfully, you have options under Arizona law to get the money that is owed for past missed payments.
The Basics: How Does Child Support Work?
Most child support orders are set up so that you receive a monthly amount from the other parent. Many parents choose to have their child support obligation directly paid through their paycheck. This type of setup is established in an income withholding order from the court. The Arizona Child Support Clearinghouse oversees these payments and makes sure that the funds get where they need to go.
The other option for child support payments is “direct pay.” This arrangement can be made without a court order. It involves merely having funds move from the paying parent to the receiving parent on a regular basis from one bank account to another. This arrangement is problematic, and you should discuss the issues that arise when paying or receiving child support in this manner with an experienced family law attorney.
How is Child Support Established?
Before you can enforce child support, you must actually have an order from the court that sets out how much support should be and how it will be paid. If you have an informal arrangement with the other parent regarding support, you will likely not be able to enforce that by using Arizona courts.
Instead, you must go through the formal process of getting a child support order from the court.
You can agree on how child support will be paid, but you must still get court approval before it can be enforced. Child support is determined by using a very specific calculation.
Child support will generally continue until the child’s 18th birthday. However, it can continue in some circumstances.
How Do Courts Determine the Amount of Child Support?
Arizona follows the Income Shares Model in calculating child support, meaning the court considers the income of both parents in determining the appropriate amount (Arizona Child Support Guidelines). Essentially, each parent is required to contribute a proportion of their income toward the child’s financial support.
In addition to the parent’s income, several factors play into the calculation of child support in Arizona. These can include the number of children involved, the costs of healthcare and childcare, the special needs of the child, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the family remained intact.
What Happens if a Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?
If a parent violates an Arizona child support order and fails to keep up with child support obligations, then the court can hold that parent in contempt of court.
That means that the paying parent is not following a required directive from the court.
Ultimately, the parent who does not pay child support can end up having to deal with one or more of the following consequences:
- Income withholding from paychecks, lump-sum payments, unemployment, or retirement benefits
- Negative notations on their credit report
- Garnishment of income tax refunds
- Take possession of bank accounts or other property
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Property liens (on their home or other properties)
- Offset lottery winnings
- Suspension of professional licenses
Can an Arizona Family Law Attorney Help with Collection?
Collecting child support can sometimes become a daunting challenge, necessitating an experienced legal team’s assistance to navigate the complex process. In such situations, a Scottsdale child support lawyer can offer invaluable help. Taking a dual approach, our attorneys facilitate child support collection primarily through enforcement and contempt proceedings.
Enforcement actions are typically the first step. These are legal proceedings initiated to ensure compliance with an existing child support order. If your child’s other parent isn’t adhering to the child support order, our skilled attorneys can file an enforcement action to the court on your behalf. This action essentially requests the court to direct the parent to comply with the order and fulfill their child support obligations. Filing an enforcement action serves as a legal testament to your commitment to secure your child’s financial well-being.
However, if the non-compliant parent continues to disregard the orders even after the enforcement action, the court might deem this as ‘contempt.’ Contempt proceedings can become necessary when a parent willfully disobeys a court order. In a contempt action, our attorneys can request the court not only to enforce the child support order but also to find the non-complying parent in contempt for their continued defiance.
The consequences of being found in contempt can be significant. The court can impose various punishments to compel the errant parent into complying with the child support order in the future. These punishments might range from monetary fines to potential jail time, serving as a clear deterrent to further non-compliance.
Communication is Key
One of the benefits of having a child support lawyer is that you can get an update on your case virtually whenever you would like. It is easy to simply pick up the phone or send a quick email to talk to your lawyer.
What if the Other Parent Wants to Modify Child Support?
Enforcing child support orders and modifying child support are actually two separate procedures in Arizona. That means that the parent who owes support cannot claim that they do not have to pay because the child support order should be modified. They can make that argument later, but that does not help the amount of support that they already owe.
Modifying child support requires that you file a Petition for Modification and show that there has been a material change in circumstances since the child support was entered. That material change can be based on the parent or the child. Most often, it is due to a change in income, but not always.
The Role of a Child Support Enforcement Attorney
The complexities surrounding child support enforcement may be difficult for parents to navigate alone. That’s why a family law attorney plays an invaluable role in this process. Here’s how our team at BTL Family Law can assist you:
Analyzing and Understanding the Situation
Our attorneys begin by examining your unique situation. They delve into the specifics of your case meticulously, understand the extent of unpaid child support, and then plan the legal course of action accordingly.
Filing Enforcement Actions
If non-compliance with the child support order is identified, our attorneys can effectively file an enforcement action. This legal plea urges the court to enforce the standing order and demand compliance from the non-paying parent.
Pursuing Contempt Proceedings
If the negligence continues, our attorneys can present a case for contempt against the offending parent. They will compile compelling evidence to substantiate the willful disregard of the court’s orders, striving to get the court to hold the parent in contempt.
Negotiating on Your Behalf
Our attorneys can represent you in court and also conduct negotiations on your behalf as needed. The goal is to reach an agreement ensuring your child’s future financial well-being.
Our attorneys provide legal advice based on an extensive understanding of Arizona’s child support laws. They will clarify your rights and your child’s rights and explain the possible legal routes available to you.
Dealing with child support enforcement on your own can be an overwhelming endeavor. With the assistance of our dedicated child support enforcement attorneys, you can confidently navigate this process, ensuring your child’s best interests are upheld.
Contact a Scottsdale Child Support Enforcement Attorney Today
If you would like to learn more about child support enforcement, contact our team of family law lawyers. We can help you evaluate your situation realistically to help determine the best path for your unique case. Call us today at (480) 351-5654 or contact us online for a consultation with our experienced legal professionals.