Phoenix, AZ

Child Support

Friday, June 21, 2019

The High Price of NOT Paying Child Support

Q: Can parental rights be terminated for nonpayment of child support?

“Deadbeat dads”– – or “deadbeat moms” for that matter – – earn that harsh title when they fail to pay child support or follow a predetermined visitation schedule after divorce. But as emotionally and financially devastating as this behavior may be on the children and former spouse, neither shortcoming in itself is considered adequate cause to sever parental rights in Arizona absent other factors.
Read more . . .

Friday, September 15, 2017

Options for Arizona Delinquent Child Support Fugitives

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.
Read more . . .

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Who’s, Why’s and How’s of Paternity Testing

Q. How is paternity established?

While establishing the identity of a child's biological mother is virtually always easy, establishing paternity --or fatherhood – – is not always simple. “Who’s your daddy?” is an emotionally-charged question especially if asked in the context of a prospective divorce.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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.


Read more . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2016

“Deadbeat Dads” and Child Support Law in Arizona

Q: What happens if I fall behind in child support?

Under Arizona law, custody and visitation are known as “legal decision making” and “parenting time,” respectively and the courts strongly encourage both parents to support and be actively involved in their children’s lives. Sometimes that isn’t possible.

Read more . . .

Monday, August 8, 2016

Enforcing Child Support

How can I enforce a child support order?

One of the key issues in a divorce is child support that a non-custodial parent is required to pay. Far too often, however, so-called deadbeat parents are delinquent and owe back child support. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are state and federal laws to enforce child support orders.

At the federal level the Child Support Enforcement Act empowers state authorities to collect child support in arrears and subject deadbeat parents to a wide range of penalties including jail time.
Read more . . .

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Custody Dispute Leads to Deadly Shoot-Out

This summer we got a brutal reminder just how contentious custody disputes can become. A man out in Navajo County recently shot and killed the mother of his grandchildren and her mother on the courthouse steps after a custody hearing.

According to a report in The Republic, the children at the heart of this dispute had been cared for by their paternal grandfather, the shooter, for some time. In May, the children visited their mother’s home, and shortly after that, the grandparents filed for a protective order, claiming that she had hit the children and verbally abused them.

The mother, in turn, alleged that the children’s father’s family had taken the children away from her, and she was seeking custody and the right to visit the children while the custody dispute was resolved.

Read more . . .

Friday, January 29, 2016

Social Media Being Used To Call Out Child Support Evaders

Is it fair to use Facebook and Twitter to publicly shame “deadbeat” parents?

It is no secret that Arizona has a high rate of unpaid child support. The state has used various methods, including issuing warrants for arrest, in an attempt to collect back payments. Unfortunately, these methods haven’t worked for the worst offenders, and many children remain unsupported by one of their parents. Now, the state is trying something new in the child support arena-- publicly shaming child support evaders by posting their pictures on Read more . . .

Monday, November 23, 2015

Arizona Denies Child Custody to Couple Because of Their Immigration Status

 Should immigration status be considered in cases of child custody?

In an Arizona case fraught with multiple tragedies, the grandparents of a baby girl have been denied custody of the child because they are undocumented aliens. The case is complex and laden with human misery.

It begins with the daughter of the couple being raped at the age of 15 by a family friend. The daughter kept her pregnancy hidden until secretly giving birth in her parents' bathroom. Subsequently, her baby girl was (depending upon which version of event you believe) deliberately dropped or accidentally fell from a window ledge to the ground.

The teenager, after pleading guilty to attempted second-degree murder and child abuse, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison, a lifetime of probation, and has forfeited her parental rights forever.

While the Arizona Department of Child Safety at first allowed the grandparents to visit their baby granddaughter, their visitation rights have now been denied. The agency has declared them unfit guardians because they are not legal residents of the United States. The grandparents, who have a daughter of about the same age as their granddaughter, believe it is unjust for them to be denied custody because of their immigration status, particularly because there is no state law forbidding it.

They claim that the state government has already torn their family apart since they are no longer able to visit their daughter in prison. This separation has occurred because they are unable to get the state-issued identification necessary to visit a state penal facility.

Those sympathetic with the grandparents point out that, apart from the rights of the adults in question, the baby continues to be traumatized by being separated from the only home and family she's ever known.

Laws concerning child custody are complicated and may, at times, seem unjust. It is essential that you have an experienced family law attorney in your corner to guide you as you navigate these choppy waters.
At Cohen Family Law, we have the knowledge and skill to assist you and to ensure the best possible outcome of your custody case. If you need help with child custody or other family issues, please call us for a free consultation at 602-714-8898. We have been helping Arizona families since 1982 and we would be pleased to help yours.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Funding College Tuition in a Divorce

Who pays for college of offspring in a divorce?

Divorcing parents have a number of issues to resolve in co-parenting, particularly regarding how to pay for their children's college expenses. This requires combining their income power to handle rising tuition rates.

During the time a couple was married, there may have been a savings plan such as a 529 plan.
In a divorce, one of the parents will assume control of the tax-advantaged account unless the account is split. The parent who becomes the sole owner is the only one who can make decisions about how these funds are used. Some experts believe that the non-custodial parent should own the plan since the funds will not be included as assets in a financial aid application.

In addition to the tax advantages of 529 plans, claiming a child as a dependent provides federal tax deductions (provided that the child is a full-time college student) This is usually handled in a divorce settlement agreement, and the parent with the higher income is often designated as the one permitted to claim the child as a dependent.

Resolving questions over who owns a 529 Plan and who will claim the child as a dependent hinge on the issue of who gets custody, one of the most contentious matters in a divorce. The decision can, however, impact the child’s financial aid eligibility.

While the only assets that are a factor in a financial aid application are those of the custodial parent, many colleges ask for additional financial aid forms that include the non-custodial parent’s financial information. In these cases, the equation becomes more complicated if the parent have remarried. Then, the assets of the other spouses may become part of a financial aid determination.

In the final analysis, a divorcing couple is best advised to overcome the contentious issues that arise in a divorce and strive to meet the court’s standard of what is in the best interest of the child. Ultimately, child custody decisions should consider how a child’s college tuition will be funded. Deciding which parent retains full custody can have a significant impact on financial aid.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

New Study Reveals Surprising Divorce Rates in Couples Who Marry After Having Children

What are the major considerations for couples with children considering divorce?

Having a child can drastically change the dynamics in a romantic relationship. For some couples, the stress of co-parenting can quickly diminish the partnership, leaving individuals feeling stressed and isolated.  However, the results of a recent study indicate divorce rates in couples marrying after having a child are surprisingly lower than those in couples pursuing the traditional marriage-then-baby timeline. In any event, couples with children must be prepared to make several significant decisions when pursuing a divorce or dissolution of the relationship, including visitation, custody, and child support matters.

According to the Council on Contemporary Families, couples who choose to get married after having a child actually fare better than originally thought. Traditionally, divorce rates among parents who married after having a child were much higher than those of parents who were already married at the time of their child’s birth.  Now, recent data shows divorce rates among these two groups is about equal, representing a decrease in divorce rates among the baby-then-marriage group.

 This is so because there is more of an acceptance of cohabitation before marriage and this new family form is more common.  In other words, the notion of cohabitation before marriage – particularly with a child is now much more widely accepted and this has created a a more welcoming environment for couples choosing to take a less traditional path to creating a modern family.

In Arizona, the family court determines both parents as equal regardless of marital status when deciding matters like visitation, child custody and support. There is no preference or special treatment under the law for parents to be married (or not) when deciding the best course of action in these contexts.

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