As a custodial parent, you probably depend on timely and complete child support payments to ensure you can meet all of your financial obligations. From paying your mortgage or rent to buying new clothing and supplies for school, the financial obligations of raising a child never seem to end. Even after the division of your marital property, child support can be critical to your financial stability.
When you aren't getting the support you deserve, based on the court's calculations and order of support, it can leave you in a precarious, even vulnerable position. If your ex won't pay support but has the ability to do so, you need to know your options for having child support orders enforced in Arizona.
Don't withhold visitation, as that can cause you legal issues
The courts typically order child support as part of your temporary custody order while your divorce goes through the courts. Some people find the sudden requirement to pay child support frustrating and upsetting. Your ex may decide that he or she simply isn't going to pay until the courts finalize your divorce, perhaps because your former spouse hopes to seek shared or even full custody.
Failing to pay child support can leave you in a precarious financial situation. However, withholding visitation of your children is not a legal remedy. All it will do is provide your spouse with ammunition to use against you in the upcoming custody battle. Demonstrating that you will not allow visitation could improve the case for your ex sharing custody with you or getting full custody instead.
Even if the support order is a part of the final divorce decree, refusing visitation or custody exchanges could cause issues in the future. Your ex could always ask the courts to modify the custody agreement based on your refusal to adhere to the parenting plan. You should document each missed payment and take steps authorized under Arizona law to seek enforcement of the ordered support.
Ask the Division of Child Support Services for help
Tasked by the state's law with arranging and enforcing child support payments, the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) has the power to help uphold your child support order. Typically, this involves issuing a withholding order to ensure child support gets taken out of each paycheck. However, if your ex works under the table, is self-employed or has found another means of avoiding this process, other enforcement may become necessary.
The DCSS can actually take all or part of your ex's federal or state tax refund to cover past-due child support amounts. They can also seize bank accounts or other valuable property to enforce payment if your ex is twelve months or more behind. They can report issues to the credit bureaus, place a lien against your ex's home, intercept lottery winnings or even suspend licenses from the state, including professional licenses and driver's licenses.