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Past Due Child Support: What to Do When You're in Arrears

Past Due Child Support: What to Do When You're in Arrears

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 financial situation.

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.
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