Taking Children’s Social Security Benefits in Arizona
The Arizona Court of Appeals in the published decision in Peace v. Peace decided an Arizona court’s authority when a parent is taking children’s social security benefits in Arizona.
In the Peace case, Mother had primary custody of the children.
Despite that fact, Father diverted the social security payments payable for the support of the children to himself as opposed to the mother, who was the custodial parent of the children.
Contempt of Court for Taking Children’s Social Security Benefits
Mother filed a Petition for Contempt against father.
Mother alleged Father has directed the Social Security Administration to send him the children’s monthly social security payments of $362.00 per month.
The mother alleged she should have received those payments as the custodial parent of the children.
The trial court gave Mother a judgment against Father for all of the social security payments Father wrongfully diverted to himself. The trial court also found Father to be in contempt of court.
Preemption of Federal Law on Children’s Social Security Benefits
The Court of Appeals reviewed federal law. Federal law allows a parent to receive his or her children’s social security payments to use those funds in any manner benefiting the children.
Father argued that federal law gave him discretion on how he spent the social security benefits.
The Arizona Court of Appeals had to decide whether federal law or state law controlled in this situation.
The question became whether a state court judge had the authority to direct what Father should do with the children’s social security benefits.
The court concluded there was extensive federal law governing children’s social security benefits.
The Court of Appeals concluded federal law, not state law, controlled.
There was comprehensive federal law on the subject.
The extent of federal law demonstrated Congress intended to control the disposition of social security benefits. State law, therefore, is preempted by federal law.
The Arizona Court of Appeals concluded the state court judge did not have the authority to hold Father in contempt.
Also, the state court did not have the authority to give Mother a judgment against Father for the children’s social security payments he wrongfully diverted from her.
If you have questions about taking children’s social security benefits 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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Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about children’s social security benefits in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about child support laws in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and child custody 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. The procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce are based upon principles of honesty and integrity. Chris and his staff care about what their clients are going through in a divorce.