As previous posts have mentioned here in the past, Arizona law ensures that every child receives financial support from both of that child's parents. If a parent refuses to pay child support, that parent can face penalties for non-payment. As a recent blog post explained, these penalties can be severe and include jail time, wage garnishment and the loss of professional licenses. In order to avoid these penalties, parents must pay the child support that has been ordered by the family law court.
Raising a child is expensive in Arizona. From birth until the child is an adult, the child's parents are responsible for the costs associated with that child. As most parents know, these include the child's every day expenses, medical care, educational expenses, child care costs and more. Single parents are often acutely aware of the huge expenses of raising a child.
Raising children is expensive so it is important that both parents be involved in assisting financially, regardless of the relationship status of the parents or the specific custody arrangement. When married parents divorce or when a parent who was never married to the other seeks child support, a judge will often order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. However, the prevalence of child support disputes among parents often means that county or state agencies need to get involved.
The expenses associated with raising a child are exactly what make child support disputes so contentious. The parent seeking the support often feels that he or she cannot financially sustain the burden of raising a child without the monetary support of the other parent. In contrast, the parent from whom support is sought often feels that he or she is being used for money or is forced to pay more than is feasible. Sometimes, as with the case of an Arizona Cardinals player, paternity is the root of the child support controversy.
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.
People shirk their responsibilities for many different reasons. Some may do it because they really feel that they cannot comply with the responsibility. Others may do it because they think they can get away with non-complaince. Child support is one area where, unfortunately, many Arizona residents fail to handle their obligations. But the penalties for failure to pay child support can be surprising and quite detrimental to everyone involved.
In a unique case involving a father's rights and responsibilities, a court in Kansas has determined that a donor who provided sperm to impregnate a lesbian woman must now pay years of child support for the baby that he helped to create. The decision has made headlines across the country as politicians and the public debate to what extent a biological father's responsibilities for child support exist.
Divorce can bring on a whole host of contested legal issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody. Perhaps one of the most disputed aspects of a divorce is child support. Reaching a child support settlement can be difficult, and many times must be argued for or against in front of a judge. Once a final determination is made, issues may arise when payments are incomplete or missing. The child may suffer as a result, and a failure to pay child support may lead to penalties for the owing parent.