In situations, when the non-custodial parent who has been ordered to
pay child support fails to do so, the other parent can depend upon federal and state family
law to mandate appropriate enforcement procedures. Parents who are
delinquent on their child support are commonly referred to as “deadbeat parents.” The term is
typically used to reference state laws created to deal with a parent’s
refusal to abide by the court’s child support order. These mandates
ensure that child support payments are submitted in a timely manner.
When referencing a parent who has unpaid child support, legal documents
will typically refer to the amount past due as being child support “in
arrears.” It is not unheard of for states or counties to post pictures,
names, and child support in arrears amounts online in order to shame deadbeat
parents into taking care of the problem. In fact, in some states and counties
it is standard procedure. Parents who need information regarding eligibility
or how to obtain child support should get in touch with their divorce
attorney as soon as possible.
According to federal child support laws as detailed in The Child Support
Enforcement Act of 1984, district attorneys and state attorney generals
have the authorization to collect child support in arrears on behalf of
parents who have not received payments as court ordered. Additional federal
child support initiatives support the process of child support enforcement
as well. If a deadbeat parent continues to fail to pay even after the
authorities become involved, penalties for non-payment can include: jail
time, denial of passport, garnishment of wages, liens on property, negative
reports to credit bureaus, freezing of funds in financial institutions,
suspension of a driver’s license, contempt order, etc.
In situations where more than one state is involved in a child support
dispute, the federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) will
serve to establish jurisdiction.
In situations where the non-custodial parent is unable to pay, they must
file a formal motion requesting modification of child support so that
the court can calculate the appropriate amount due based on the current
For more information regarding the specific state and federal laws and
enforcement processes that pertain to unpaid child support in your situation,
please get in touch with one of the experienced divorce lawyers at
Arizona Family Law Attorneys.