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Establishing paternity and enforcing child support payments

Arizona parents should know some facts about child support. One is that if the parents are not married to one another and the father does not voluntarily acknowledge paternity, it may be necessary to establish it. This allows the mother to start getting child support from the father and also makes it possible for the child to receive death benefits in the event of the father's demise.

However, establishing paternity does not mean that the mother is not obligated to support the child as well. A mother may be ordered to pay child support just as a father may. The amount is calculated based on a formula. Child support should be paid through the local office of child support services. This makes it possible to track payments and enforce nonpayments. Penalties for nonpayments can be severe. They may range from garnishing a person's wages to criminal prosecution.

If people need to have the amount they pay in child support changed, they must do it through the court system. If they simply stop paying or reduce their payments, then they will be continue to be liable for the amount owed plus any penalties and may be subject to the types of enforcement mentioned above. There must be a good reason for a modification request such as a job loss or medical emergency.

Determining child support, child custody and visitation schedules can be a difficult part of the divorce process. Parents may share physical custody, but one parent may still be required to pay child support to the other. If a parent fails to pay child support, the other parent cannot withhold parenting time with the children.

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