Senior Citizens ending a marriage, or obtaining the so-called "gray divorce," is no longer a decision that raises eyebrows in America. A study has shown that divorce rates for people older than 50 has doubled in the last 20 years. However, older Arizona couples need to take note of a few important things before calling it quits.
Most Arizona residents who have been through a divorce with minor children understand the need for financial support whether they are custodial or noncustodial parents. Child support is intended to meet the financial needs of children so that their development is not hampered by poverty. In high-asset divorces, however, the overall financial stakes are far higher, so it should not be surprising that requests for child support might also be high-and perhaps be judged as exorbitant by the public.
Many divorcing parents of minor children may wonder about child support in Arizona: how it can be requested, what is the proper amount and for how long it will continue. Usually, child support must be requested by one party during the divorce process. There are forms to complete and submit to the court that trigger the process whereby the court or a county agency will request certain documentation or information from each party. The requested documentation or information includes items such as the income of each parent and whether the parties have other children to support.
Arizona residents know that divorces can be contentious. Emotions often run high in the face of a life-changing event. This is particularly true when children are involved. However, divorcing parents will need to work together to raise their children, and before that can happen an agreement must be reached. All divorces involving minor children will include some type of agreement regarding the children. Many times, a financial child support arrangement is one such agreement. But how can an agreement be reached? There are three primary methods: informally, through the courts or through mediation.
In an international dispute with Arizona ties, the ex-wife of an airline pilot is seeking over $774,000 in unpaid child support. Married in 1986, the husband filed for divorce in 2000 in Canada. Two years later, the Canadian Court ordered him to pay start paying child support. He failed to do so and left the jurisdiction. He then failed to appear in subsequent proceedings, resulting in the confiscation of his Canadian passport, pilot license and driver's license.
Whether celebrated or vilified, most will admit that Maricopa County's Sheriff Joe Arpaio gets results. This was once again demonstrated this past Father's Day, when Sheriff's Deputies and volunteers went out in search of men and women with outstanding warrants. Specifically, the people they went looking for were all parents who were not paying their child support as ordered. With about 300 outstanding warrants received by the Sheriff's Office each year, deputies take certain days, such as Father's Day, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, to focus on executing the warrants.
Arizona parents going through the divorce process may be interested in hearing about an unusual twist concerning child support payments. A couple in Iowa were divorced in 2004 and for years afterward, they fought over the terms of their divorce settlement and custody of their children. In 2011, the ex-wife was convicted of first-degree murder and incarcerated. Despite her conviction and loss of custody of her children, a judge ruled that her ex-husband had to pay her back child support and divorce settlement payments.
Arizona parents with a child support order may be interested to learn about new efforts states are taking to collect child support payments. Currently, when a parent isn't paying as ordered, many states will garnish wages, withhold tax returns, deny passports or suspend business licenses. But there are limitations to these efforts. For example, states may not be able to impose the penalties if the paying parent has remarried, as the new spouse cannot be penalized for the parent-spouse's failure to pay.
Many of us know of or have heard of someone owing back payments of child support. Called arrears, there are many reasons why someone with a support order has not paid all the money owed to date, including unemployment, large medical bills or simple not wanting to adhere to the order. Recently, a man in Chicago took owing child support to a new level: he owes over half a million dollars.