Failing to Pay Child Support

Contempt of court.

Failing to Pay Child Support

When a party in a family law case is court-ordered to pay child support to their child’s other parent, the payments are usually made to the central support payment clearinghouse run by the Arizona Department of Economic Security. This allows payment history to be tracked, recorded, and processed to ensure all payments are made as ordered. This system makes it easy to identify those are behind in, or failing to make, child support payments.

Failing to pay court-ordered child support is a crime in Arizona. When child support becomes delinquent or otherwise goes unpaid, the recipient is able to file a motion to hold the paying parent in contempt of court at a court hearing.

At this hearing, the parent or Arizona Department of Child Support Services can ask the court to choose to withhold income, offset any state tax refund, seize assets, or place liens on the property of the delinquent parent.

If an obliger is at least six months in arrears of making child support payments, they may have their driving privileges revoked and any hunting licenses invalidated (A.R.S. 25-518).

Moreover, if the delinquent parent fails to appear at this hearing, the court may issue a warrant for their arrest, pursuant to A.R.S. 25-681.

A delinquent parent has the option to make a “purge payment” to bring themself back into good standing and “purge” themselves from being held in contempt of court. Maricopa County allows purge payments to be made at certain locations throughout the Valley.

Failing to pay child support is a class 6 felony, per A.R.S. 25-511. A first-time offender could therefore receive incarceration for up to two years.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security additionally posts a list of “Wanted Child Support Evaders” on their website with information, monies owed, and photos of individuals who have failed to pay child support. Individuals with an unknown location who owe more than $5000, have an arrearage of at least 12 months of support, who are not involved in bankruptcy or welfare, and who are wanted for not having made payments within the past six months may appear on this list.

Rideout Law Group handles cases throughout the entire state of Arizona, with offices located in Scottsdale and Lake Havasu City. Our attorneys are experienced in handling cases involving child support. For a free consultation, call 480-584-3328.


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