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Is Child Support Order Void For Not Stating Arrears in AZ | Hildebrand Law, PC

Thu 2nd Mar, 2017 Arizona Child Support Laws

In Arizona, the trial court is charged with determining the amount of child support due going forward as well as past child support that is due. Is a child support order void if it does not mention arrears? In Lopez v. Barraza, 723 P. 2d 109 (1986) the Arizona Court of Appeals considered the issue.

Case Facts

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Child Support Division began giving support to a child born to Mrs. Lopez.

In October 1984, Mrs. Lopez and Mr. Lopez attended a meeting in the case worker’s office. In the meeting, the caseworker prepared a formal paternity complaint, a summons, and acceptance of service, and a form of judgment. Both parties signed the papers.

The only matters they put into the judgment were paternity and future child support payments. Mr. Lopez agreed to pay future child support of $150 per month. The judgment did not contain language about back support due or the medical expenses of the child.

The following year, Mrs. Lopez asked the court for contributions to back support. She also asked for medical costs she incurred to give birth to the child. The trial court denied her request. Mrs. Lopez appealed.

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Statutory Language Permissive or Mandatory

Mrs. Lopez claims that A.R.S. § 12-849 requires the court to make an award for past care and support of the child. It also allows the court to award expenses for the birth.

Mr. Lopez argues that the judgment below was void since it did not contain either of these. The Court of Appeals ruled that section 12-849(A) and (B) are discretionary. It found that the statute gives the trial court the power to order such awards but does not make them mandatory.


Is an Arizona Child Support Order Void if it Does Not Mention Past Due Child Support?

The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling.

If you have questions about whether a child support order is void if it does not mention arrears in an Arizona divorce case, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child support and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child support and family law cases.

Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.

Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your Arizona child support or family law case around today.

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