You may feel as though you got the short end of the divorce if you pay child support, but only have a limited time to spend with the kids each week. Of course, you understand your obligation to support your children, but there is no question that the payments take a bite out of your budget. When unexpected expenses come up, you often sacrifice your own needs to ensure you can pay the full amount of your court order.
When a marriage is dissolved, state law requires the non-custodial parent to contribute child support. This financial support can be decided by the parents or by court order, depending on the disputed issues and the nature of the divorce.
When most Arizona parents find themselves before a court of law to discuss financial support, the matter is fairly straightforward. The custodial parent is usually seeking child support payments from the non-custodial parent, to assist with the costs of raising a shared child. There are certainly variations to these matters, such as when a parent seeks the help of the court in forcing compliance with an existing child support order or when one parent is asking for a modification in the amount of the payments.
Arizona parents may be interested to learn that there are some critics of laws that send people to jail for not paying child support. While it might be appropriate punishment in some cases where parents simply refuse to honor their obligations, some are just too poor to pay child support. When this is the case, they can fall behind and the amount they owe can quickly grow.
When a non-custodial parent is receiving Social Security benefits and is failing to pay required child support, the custodial parent may be able to garnish a portion of those benefits through a subsequent court order. The ability to garnish Social Security benefits will depend on the kind of benefits the nonpaying parent receives, however, as Supplemental Security Insurance cannot be garnished.
The most recent data available from the Census Bureau shows how many parents did not receive the child they were owed in 2011. The data indicated that unpaid child support amounted to $14.3 billion in 2011, and the census collected information about the age, race and gender of parents who were supposed to be receiving child support. It appears that women in Arizona and around the country are less likely to pay their child support obligations than men.
Parents in Arizona who pay child support or who receive it may wonder how long that support must last. Most of the time, child support ends when the child reaches the age of majority.
Many people believe that child support is and should be used to cover a child's basic needs. However, Arizona and other states have come up with support guidelines that take a variety of factors into consideration. Additionally, the courts assume that the custodial parent is already meeting the needs of the child and will typically not monitor that parent's spending habits.
Establishing the biological and legal father of a child has many benefits for the child, such as access to the father's medical and family records and the potential to receive medical, inheritance, Social Security and other benefits. When an Arizona man believes that he is the father but the fact is not legally documented, he may seek to establish paternity.
Parents in Arizona may benefit from learning more about the state's provisions governing modifications to child support orders. In order to receive a modification, parents are required to prove to a family judge that a significant change in circumstances or living conditions has occurred. The changes warranting modification may concern the affairs of the noncustodial parent, the custodial parent and child or both parties. In certain states, the terms of child support orders are reevaluated by a family judge every few years.