Collecting Child Support

Once child support has been determined, collecting can be quite another task. Many factors contribute to the need to collect. Everything from the employment status of the noncustodial parent, to the degree of cooperation between parents. One thing is certain in every case, there is at least one child, often times more, that deserve the award of support for their well being. No matter what the circumstances are between the parents, the child should not suffer. There are many ways to go about collecting child support. The Office of Child Support Enforcement webpage is a great point of reference in addition to the legal advice our attorneys at Platt & Westby, P.C., can offer.

Suspension of Driver’s License for Nonpayment

The Arizona Legislature has enacted legislation to suspend the driver’s license of a parent who owes child support upon satisfactory proof of a failure to pay child support.

This statute provides that after a court hearing, the court may find that the obligor (the parent who owes the duty to pay the child support) has willfully failed to pay child support and that support is at least two months in arrears. The court can then send a certificate of non-compliance to the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend the obligor’s driver’s license. The court will then set a review hearing not more than 120 days after the issuance of the certificate of non-compliance. If the court finds that the obligor is in compliance with his or her child support order, the court will issue a certificate of compliance to the Department of Transportation, which allows the obligor to reapply for their license. This is just one method of ensuring payments are made.

Bankruptcy Cannot Be Used To Avoid Paying Child Support

The recent amendments to the United States Bankruptcy Code have made it more difficult for a non-custodial parent to avoid his or her obligation to pay child support. The support obligation cannot be discharged. The parent entitled to support does not need to bring an action in Bankruptcy Court to ensure that the debt is not discharged. Child support obligations are a priority under any distribution made by the bankruptcy trustee. Any pre-filing payments of child support cannot be set aside by the trustee as a preferential payment. A parent entitled to child support may proceed against the debtor without an order of the Bankruptcy Court if the matter is for paternity or the establishment, modification or collection of child support orders.

Child Support Arrearages

Under most circumstances, in order to enforce payment on a judgment, that judgment needs to be renewed every five years. However, renewal is unnecessary when it is a judgment for child support. Case law suggests that ten (10) years after the child reaches majority (age 18), the judgment for unpaid child support cannot be enforced unless a renewal has been filed with the Court. This timeline is intended to assist the child and the custodial parent who would otherwise be unaware of their rights to unpaid child support. It also acts as a deterrent to any would-be noncustodial parents thinking about not paying.

Choosing A Family Lawyer

Our family lawyers at Platt & Westby, P.C., have assisted hundreds of clients in establishing and collecting child support. We represent clients in collecting delinquent child support on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless you collect. Contact our office or call 602-277-4441 to speak with one of our experienced family law attorneys.

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