Child Support

questions & answers

Question: father is not paying court ordered support, how do I file for contempt of court

Answer:

Note: Child support and visitation are two totally separate areas of family law and visitation cannot be denied because the non-custodial parent is behind on his or her child support payments. The answer to this question depends upon whether the person who has custody is receiving public assistance.

If the person is receiving public assistance, the federal government requires the state government to enforce child support orders under the federal law, referred to as IV-D (4D). Under Arizona law for enforcing IV-D, the Arizona Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) has the authority to collect child support from non-custodial parents. There are a number of ways that the DCSE can enforce a child support order and collect current and past due child support, such as: income withholding of wages, new hire reporting, liens against real and personal property, unemployment insurance benefits, workers’ compensation, suspension of driver’s license, suspension of professional and occupational licenses, suspension of recreational licenses, passport denial, federal tax offset, Arizona Department of Revenue State Tax Refund Offset, Federal Administrative Payment Offset, lottery winning offset, financial institution data match (lien and levy), and credit bureau reporting. (A.R.S. § 25-520) For more detailed descriptions of enforcement and other helpful information, visit The Division of Child Support Enforcement online.

It is important to be aware that the child support program cannot make any non-custodial parent pay child support. Child support collection is a process. A support order must be obtained through the court before an individual can apply for help in having that order enforced. Enforcement of an order depends on being able to find the non-custodial parent AND on that person having resources – such as income, bank accounts, property, an income tax refund, etc. – that can be used to pay the support due. This is why it is so important that custodial parents provide as much information as possible as to the location and resources of the non-custodial parent. The DCSE will assist any person with custody of a child who needs assistance in establishing a child support or medical support order, or a parent who needs help to collect payments if that person is receiving public assistance. This person may be a custodial parent, a caretaker or caretaker relative with physical custody of a child(ren), an alleged father wanting to establish paternity, or a non-custodial parent.

If the custodial parent is receiving public assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid, or federally-assisted Foster Care, he or she is automatically referred to the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) for services. For those who live out of state, he or she may apply for services, but in most cases it is more convenient to apply in the state in which the custodial parent resides. The procedure to seek assistance of the DCSE in enforcement is as follows:

  1. You need to obtain and fill out an application. There are several ways in which you can obtain an application: you can call the DCSE’s Interactive Voice System (IVR) at (602) 252-4045 or 1-800-882-4151 and request an application which will be sent to you by mail; you can walk into the DCSE office nearest to you and pick up the forms; or you may download the application on the DCSE website at http://www.de.state.az.us/dcse/forms.asp and mail it in. Arizona does not charge any fees to the custodial parent for DCSE services.
  2. Along with the application, DCSE will provide you with several documents you need to complete. You need to fill out these forms using black ink only, and have them notarized where necessary after you have completed them. You may use a notary of your choice or one can be provided for you at any DCSE office. Don’t sign the forms until you are before the notary. You will need picture identification with your signature to prove to the notary that you are who you claim to be.
  3. You will need to provide as much information and as many documents as you can concerning the non-custodial parent. The most important are the following: • The non-custodial parent’s full, legal name (including any nicknames and aliases); • Address, date of birth, and social security number; • Name and address of a current or recent employer; • Income and assets – pay stubs, bank accounts, tax returns, investments and properties; • Physical description and/or picture; • The most important pieces of information that you can provide is the social security number and date of birth of the non-custodial parent. Keep in mind that DCSE needs enough information to pursue your case. 4. If child support enforcement is the issue, you will need to provide: • A copy of your divorce decree and all child support orders in your possession; • A copy of all child support payments made through a Clerk of the Court; • A completed Affidavit for Receipt of Direct Payments. Additional information can be found at: http://www.de.state.az.us/dcse/applycs.asp. If the person who has custody of the child is not receiving public assistance of any kind, the collection process is a private matter (not a IV-D service) and the custodial parent must pursue his or her own legal action to seek enforcement and collect the child support. The information stated above in 3 and 4 apply in this case also.
You can visit the State Bar of Arizona to find an attorney to help with this, or if you qualify for legal aid, you can find legal help by county on the right lower corner of any of the pages in this website.

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