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Arizona court allows enforcement of out of state support orders

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2014 | Child Support

For divorced Arizona parents with child support orders from another state, enforcing those orders was always challenging. This is because the state appellate court previously determined that out of state orders were not enforceable in Arizona. However, the Court ruled differently after a resident tried to enforce a North Carolina child support order. Her ex-husband claimed the Arizona courts couldn’t enforce the order, but in reversing itself, the appellate court decided that simply enforcing an out of state order, rather than modifying it, was acceptable.

This is welcome news for those who find themselves in the position of having a valid order but with nowhere to go if the ex-spouse refused to adhere to the order. Previously, any enforcement action would have to take place in the originating state, which may have meant time and expense to travel back to that state. It remains to be seen how many people will start petitioning Arizona courts for enforcement actions.

Child support orders are given usually to divorcing parents with minor children, those age eighteen and younger. The money is often, but not always, provided to either the parent living with the children most often or to the parent earning less than the other parent. This is because in considering paying for the children’s expenses, courts will look to who might spend the most and who might need the money.

Other factors considered include the children’s extracurricular expenses, any medical needs and the everyday expenses associated with raising the children. An order is determined using a snapshot in time, meaning it only takes into consideration the parent’s finances and the children’s needs at the time the order is made. But finances and needs change, which is why orders can be modified. Each order is unique to the family; an Arizona attorney with child support experience can answer questions.

Source:, “Arizona judges can now enforce child support orders from other states,” September 24, 2014