Timely Child Support Impacts National Poverty Level

Q: Can child support arrears be collected against a missing delinquent parent?

Along with having children, comes the obligation to financially support them—whether you are married to the co-parent or not. When couples who don’t have children together get split up or divorce, they can often make a clean break from each other (with the exception of spousal support payments, if applicable). But unlike spousal support, child support payments don’t stop when your ex gets remarried.

Generally, Arizona child support continues until the child turns 18 or, if still in high school, then upon graduation or turning 19. But there are some exceptions and parties may also agree to support continuing through college.

It’s no secret that the American economy has been struggling for many years, stretching the ability and resources of government agencies like unemployment and welfare services to the limits. So, enforcing child support awards and collecting arrears is more important than ever.

In the United States, there are over 17 million children linked to child-support payments and single mother families constitute 40% of those living at or below the poverty level. A significant factor in reducing the poverty rate would be their receipt of timely and accurate child support payments.

The courts and child support enforcement agencies have many avenues through which child support arrears can be collected, such as wage garnishment. But not all parents remain involved in their children’s lives and finding the missing delinquent parents is the biggest obstacle to enforcing support obligations. Public information in traditional databases is often inaccurate or outdated, making it hard to locate these deadbeat parents to collect the arrears needed to lift these children and single mothers out of poverty. But things are changing.

Now, with advancements in technology, key pieces of information connecting delinquent parents to other people (like relatives), places, and assets, are now accessible online to private and government agencies, including Child Support Enforcement agencies, through CLEAR.

The CLEAR system is self-described as an easy “online fraud investigation records search experience that brings together key proprietary and public records into one intuitive, customizable environment”. It can help locate nonpaying parents and assets that may assist in collection efforts. CLEAR is currently used in 36 states by agencies helping to raise vulnerable children and families above the poverty level.

If you live in Arizona and are not receiving adequate or timely child support payments or you need assistance obtaining a court order for child support or an order modifying a prior child support award, the Cohen Family Law firm in Phoenix can help. Contact our office at 602-714-8898 for a free consultation. We practice exclusively in the field of family law and divorce and serve clients in the Phoenix area and throughout Arizona.