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How does the state enforce child support?

Under Arizona law, various actions can be taken against parents for failure to pay child support. A certain process, however, is required to enforce a child support order. One method of enforcement is an income withholding order which may withhold current and back child support payments through the paying parent's employer. In addition, both state and federal tax refunds can be held when the recipient has unpaid child support obligations. Lottery winnings may also be withheld.

In certain circumstances, bank accounts and other property may also be withheld for unpaid child support. In addition to asset seizure, liens may be placed on property when a parent has failed to pay required child support payments. Credit bureau reporting is also another possible method of enforcing a child support order. License suspension, including a professional or occupation license, may also be possible and, upon request from the court, a driver's license or recreational license may also be suspended for unpaid child support.

Non-payment of child support can also lead to the non-paying parent being held in contempt of court or facing state or federal criminal charges and possible jail time. Other additional enforcement methods may be possible as well. Child support enforcement consequences and penalties are serious which is why it is essential that child support obligations are not simply ignored. The family law process, however, provides resources to parents struggling with child support obligations.

Parents seeking to change a child support order may be able to obtain a child support modification in certain circumstances. It is important to understand that the family law system is designed to meet the needs of parents, families and children in a variety of circumstances which is why being educated concerning the different resources the family law process has to offer can be exceptionally useful for individuals, parents and families.

Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security, "Enforcement Remedies," Accessed Feb. 20, 2017

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