Most people know that getting divorced can be a process riddled with arguments and heated emotions. Tempers can flare over many divorce issues including property division, spousal support and child custody. But once the divorce is settled it may be difficult to make sure certain obligations are kept. One of the most difficult to ensure is that child support is paid in full and on time.
Many states try to crackdown on parents who refuse to pay child support and therefore arrest them and send them to jail. In one of those states, a father was arrested for failing to pay over $26,000 he owed for child support. Unfortunately, the problem is not going away. According to the Census Bureau, over 50 percent of the 13.7 million custodial parents with children under the age of 21 have a child support agreement in place. Sadly, only 61 percent of the $35.1 billion of due support is actually received. It is for this reason that many states are taking a hard line on unpaid child support.
When a child support issue arises, the best thing a parent can do is find an attorney who will fight for her and her children’s rights. If the issue arises during the divorce proceedings, the attorney may be able to help negotiate an out of court agreement or, if that is not possible, can fight to persuade a judge to go beyond the amount suggested by the Arizona child support guidelines.
If the dispute arises after the divorce, there are several things that can be done. First, an experienced attorney may be able to help the parent recover unpaid support from the other parent through court proceedings.
Second, if the other parent has been unable to pay child support because of a difficult financial situation, then a child support modification may be in everyone’s best interest. Though the child support payments are beneficial to the children involved, many times throwing an unemployed or unhealthy parent in jail for nonpayment can make matters worse. An experienced Arizona family law attorney can help negotiate a modification so the family can remain connected and, if desired, both parents can be involved in the children’s lives.
Source: Times Herald-Record, “Child-support crackdown shows parents there are repercussions,” Heather Yakin, August 11, 2013