The obligation to make child support payments generally ends when the child involved reaches the age of 18, but noncustodial parents in Arizona may still be pursued for payments that they have failed to make. Child support programs are designed to prevent children from becoming burdens on the state and hold noncustodial parents financially responsible for their actions, and government agencies at both the state and federal level take the nonpayment of child support very seriously.
Unpaid child support remains collectible even after children have reached the age of majority, and custodial parents can pursue arrears until they are paid in full. In Arizona, the Division of Child Support Services can pursue unpaid child support in a number of ways, and it can also call upon the federal government for assistance in certain situations.
When $150 or more is owed in unpaid child support, the federal government may withhold part of a noncustodial parent's Social Security retirement benefits, public assistance or federal tax refunds. On the state level, the DCSS may seek an order to have unpaid child support deducted from a noncustodial parent's paycheck. This money can also be deducted from state tax refunds or lottery wins. Legal action may also be taken to seize the assets of noncustodial parents or place liens against their property. Noncustodial parents who owe back child support may also find it difficult to renew their driver's licenses.
Custodial parents often rely on the timely payment of child support to make ends meet and provide for their children, and experienced family law attorneys may understand the stress that they are placed under when noncustodial parents fail to honor their commitments. In these situations, attorneys may assist custodial parents by pointing out the consequences of nonpayment to the noncustodial parent involved, and they could also contact the DCSS to get the collection process underway.
Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security, "Enforcement Remedies", accessed on Jan. 25, 2017