At Anthem Law in Anthem, Arizona, our family law attorneys provide counsel and representation based on decades of experience. We have a track record of proven success. We will help you protect your rights in divorce and family law matters.
There are millions of divorced parents who pay or receive child support. Federal legislation and uniform state laws exist to make enforcement and collection of payment easier for America’s single parents. Each state uses its own guidelines for establishing child support. States use a variety of methods to set support amounts and recover support when it is overdue. Due to these differences, it is important to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the child support guidelines and child enforcement laws in your state.
It’s common to have questions about the laws in your state, the rules for child collection and enforcement methods that apply to your situation. You may also have questions about how to establish paternity. You need specific expertise. Contact a family law attorney at Anthem Law in Anthem, Arizona, to schedule a consultation.
Child Support Basics
In general, parents owe their children a legal duty of financial support until the child reaches the age of majority (usually 18 or 21 years old) or becomes self-supporting. When only one parent has primary custody of the child, the other parent’s obligation for financial support are usually fulfilled through child support payments. The designated parent owes child support regardless if the child lives with his or her parents or a third party. Child support is still enforced if the person with whom the child lives can afford to support the child without payments. Depending on the state, a parent may still owe support even if the parents share joint custody.
Each state has adopted its own set of guidelines for determining the support amount. While individual guidelines differ, most arrive at the amount of support owed through a consideration of the needs of the child and the income of the paying parent. Family courts use the guidelines to establish the amount of support required and presume the amount the guidelines indicate is correct unless persuasive evidence to the contrary exists.
The duty to pay child support generally begins with an order for support from a state family court. The order may be issued in a temporary or final divorce proceeding. It may also be issued following establishment of paternity after a request for support is received from an unmarried custodial parent.
Payments are often due at specific times each month. In many jurisdictions, support payments may be directly withheld from the paying parent’s wages. In most states, the paying parent can make payments to a registry that will forward the payments to the custodial parent. The registry will also keep track of payments.
There are a of variety measures that exist to collect past due payments and protect against future non-payments. Many states have laws that allows family court judges to take a variety of actions that may include suspending professional or business licenses, revoke driver’s licenses and take away recreational. The judge can also require prepayment of future child support or order incarceration if the individual fails to make court-ordered child support payments.
All states have created offices of child support enforcement. These federally supported state agencies help locate responsible parents and create and enforce support orders. There are also federal laws that criminalize non-payment when the paying parent lives in a different state.
Both the parent receiving child support and the parent paying child support may request changes in child support orders. Some states require regular review of existing child support orders while others review child support orders only upon request.
If the paying parent’s income increases, the parent receiving support may request an increase, especially if the current court-ordered amount is insufficient. Increases may be implemented due to the child’s needs such as tutoring, medical treatment or therapy.
Paying parents may be able to decrease the amount of future support payments if they face the loss of a job or a reduction in income. Decreases may also be appropriate when the custodial parent’s income increases. Federal law prohibits states from forgiving past due child support payments. Courts are reluctant to reduce child support awards and paying parents may have an earning capacity attributed to them whether or not their actual earnings reflect that amount.
A family law attorney at Anthem Law in Anthem, Arizona, can help you to obtain or enforce support orders. They can also assist you with requesting a modification. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.