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Assistance available for those with child support obligations

For many Arizona residents who are divorced, failure to pay child support is a serious issue. In many cases, it is not the parents' goal to avoiding paying child support but is instead simply an issue of limited financial resources and other necessary skills, experience or knowledge. Unfortunately, because raising a child is expensive and no one parent should have to bear this burden alone, the law enforces harsh consequences for parents who do not comply with their child support obligations.

Fortunately, Arizona's Accountabililty Court has undergone recent developments that are showing good results. Currently, about 350 people are participating in the Accountability Court program. In sum, the total child support owed by participants amounts to approximately $16 million. The Accountability Court aims to improve the payment and collection of child support by providing participants with needed assistance instead of sentencing them to jail time. The program focuses on helping participants who are behind in child support get the job and stability they need in order to become more able to pay the required support. Release from the program occurs only after a participant pays his or her monthly child support obligation on time for between six months to a year.

Understanding how child support works can be complicated. The process of paying can become even more difficult if relations with the other parent are especially tense or if financial hardships occur. However, it is critical for parents who have a court-ordered child support obligation to comply with the order in order to avoid severe legal consequences. In some cases, failure to pay may result in jail time, garnishment of wages, or loss of professional licenses.

Fortunately, there are options for parents who want to comply with their child support obligations but feel financially unable to do. It is possible to request a child support modification but the parent requesting the modification must show cause for why the modification is necessary. Such cause can include a parent's job loss or decrease in income or a change in the custody arrangment or parenting time.

Source: AZFamily.com, "Accountability Court offers help with child support," Chloe Nordquist, Dec. 3, 2014

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