The obligation to pay child support is a serious one and must never be ignored. Heavy fines and even jail can result from failure to make timely child support payments. A federal court in Phoenix, Arizona, recently sentenced former NFL receiver Andre Rison to five years of probation and levied restitution fees of $300,000for his failure to pay child support.
The child support payments were for a 13-year-old child living in Phoenix. Rison neglected to pay any monthly support payments for a three-year period. He has been ordered to pay $1,000 per month towards the restitution fees in addition to his ongoing support payments.
In Arizona, child support payments can either be agreed to by the parties, or must be calculated according to a specific child support formula established by law. There is a specific formula that must be followed to determine the amount of child support that is owed, based on the parties’ respective incomes and other factors. The amount of time that one parent spends with their child can also influence the amount of child support that they are obligated to pay under the law.
Sometimes, the financial circumstances of the parent paying child support change due to loss of a job or an accident or illness. If this happens, that parent is entitled to seek a child support modification in court. One should swiftly ascertain if such a motion is feasible because the court process can take time and all child support payments must remain current until the time that a modification order goes into effect.
If a parent has failed to receive child support payments as required under a previous agreement approved by the court, that parent can file a motion for contempt against the non-payer. Attorney fees and costs can be recovered if a motion for contempt is successfully litigated in court. The court also has broad discretion to order other punishments as it sees fit.
Child support disputes can be bitter and emotionally charged. However, it is important to remember the best interests of the child when dealing with child support matters.
Source: The Arizona Republic, “Ex-NFL receiver ordered to pay $300,000 in child-support restitution,” Chelsey Davis and Haley Madden, July 9, 2012