Raising a child on your own is hard. It's even harder when a deadbeat parent won't cough up child support.
Fortunately, Arizona provides parents with assistance in obtaining a child support order and enforcing it. Below, we've included a few tips to get you on your way to establishing and enforcing a child support order.
Fill Out the Application.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security's Division of Child Support Enforcement Program (DCSE) offers parents a whole range of services to help enforce their child support orders. Any person with custody of a child who needs help establishing paternity, a child support order, or who needs help enforcing an order, is eligible for the program's services.
If you're receiving cash assistance benefits, you're automatically referred for child support services. If not, you'll have to apply. You can download the "Request for Child Support Services" form on the Department of Economic Security's site.
Establish Paternity and Support.
If you haven't established paternity yet, you'll probably have to take care of that first. If the father is cooperative, you can have him sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. The form can be downloaded here. If the parent is uncooperative, the DCSE may have to refer your case to the Assistant Attorney General's Office for a court hearing.
Once paternity is established, the other party will be notified that a child support order is in the works. If the parent doesn't respond within the required time period, a default order will be issued, requiring the non-custodial parent to pay a set monthly amount.
Pursue Enforcement Remedies.
If you have a child support order, but your child's parent isn't making the monthly payments, the DCSE can help you collect the back child support. The DCSE has the authority to withhold the parent's earnings, seize his or her assets, report the issue to the credit bureau, place a lien on the parent's property, or revoke the parent's professional license. If those tactics don't work, the DCSE can file a motion in Arizona Superior Court to hold the parent in contempt.
With these tips (and the DCSE's help) you should be on your way to collecting child support in no time. Good luck!
This post is part of FindLaw's Legal U series. We are working to help you learn what to do in your city to cope with some of the legal problems, questions, or issues that come up in daily life.
- Child Support Overview (FindLaw)
- The FindLaw Guide to Getting Child Support Payments (FindLaw)
- Child Support Enforcement (FindLaw)
- How to Get a Marriage License in Maricopa County (Legal U, FindLaw's Phoenix Family Law Blog)