How to Enforce a Child Support Order in Arizona?
Child support obligations are enforced by a parent filing a petition to hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court. A parent will be held in contempt of court if the parent had knowledge of the court’s support order, had the ability to pay the child support, and willfully and intentionally refused to do so.
Unlike other obligations, a judge is allowed to send a parent to jail if the court finds the parent in contempt of court for not paying his or her child support.
The court may also issue other sanctions such as suspending the parent’s drivers’ license or another professional license. The court, however, is required to include in its order a lump sum amount, referred to as a purge payment, the parent can pay to secure his or her immediate release from jail. The purge amount must be an amount the parent is capable of paying.
There is also a criminal statute that may be used in Arizona to enforce a parent’s obligation to pay child support. However, criminal statutes are only prosecuted by a state or county attorney. The Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of State v. Buhman held that the Arizona statute making it a crime to fail to provide “reasonable support” does not violate the Constitution.
Some people may believe they are not obligated to pay their child support payments if the other parent has denied him or her visitation with their children. However, the Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Campbell v. Campbell held that a refusal to allow visitation did not relieve the other parent of the obligation to pay child support.
The Arizona Supreme Court in the case of Anonymous Wife v. Anonymous Husband ruled that a stepparent who paid for a step child’s necessities could intervene in the child support case to sue the nonpaying parent for reimbursement for the stepparent’s support of the child.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about how to enforce a child support order in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about child support laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a child support case should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.