Q: What happens if I stop paying court-ordered child support?
In Arizona, child support arrest warrants are serious business. Failing to pay required child support or to show up for a hearing at which the amount of the monthly child support payment was to be set, could make a parent a fugitive, subject to arrest. It may not be murder, but defaulting in your child support is taken quite seriously and could land you in the slammer, too.
When couples divorce or separate, child support for any children the couple has together is one of the many factors that must be agreed-upon or court ordered. In addition, legal decision-making and parenting time determinations must also be made based on the standard of what is in “the best interest of the child”.
But what happens if circumstances change after the divorce and one parent or the other has a problem with the current child support agreement?
Life happens. In the event a significant change in financial circumstances impacts either parent, it may be necessary to seek a modification order. If the change impacts your ability to pay child support, it is wise to contact an experienced family law attorney for assistance sooner rather than later–ideally before you default in paying.
It may be possible to obtain a child-support modification order from the court, depending on the circumstances of each case. Modification orders may be appropriate in circumstances such as:
- reduction of income or loss of job
- changes in medical insurance coverage
- changes in day care or childcare costs
- emancipation of the child
- incarceration of the noncustodial parent
- disability of either parent
- and more
Maricopa County occasionally hosts Child Support Arrest Workshop events that encourage delinquent child support fugitives to attend, make a partial payment, and get resume and interview coaching. Despite the promise that fugitives won’t be arrested on the spot, many delinquent parents understandably may feel uneasy about attending.
If you need assistance with any divorce issue, or any child support issue, whether you are the parent receiving or making the payments, Cohen Family Law can help you.
From our offices in Phoenix, we are totally focused on helping clients throughout Arizona navigate their family law issues. Contact us today for a free consultation.