9 Things to Know About Child Support in Arizona

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The topic of child support is big in the black community. There’s a stereotype of broken homes within our community. In most cases, it’s a valid stereotype and it can often lead to a child support case.

The point of a child support case is to hold the parents responsible for their share of the financial obligation to the survival and well-being of the child should the relationship between the parents be dissembled.

Here are 9 Things to Know About Child Support Cases in Arizona:

A child support case can be opened by mail, by phone or in person at your local Department of Economic Security (DES) Office with Arizona’s Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). There is no fee associated with opening a child support case. However, there is a $35 annual collections fee to the recipient, a $8 monthly handling fee to the payee, and a $31.75 genetics testing fee to DCSS unless paternity is established. Once the case is filed has to be opened within 20 calendar days by DCSS. This means it can take them upto 20 days to start the case.

The payment amount of a child support arrangement is determined by the parents’ share of their obligation to the child(ren). This number is based on the monthly gross income of both parents and the amount of parenting time with the child(ren). Parents are also expected to share child care and medical costs fifty fifty split. You can estimate payment amounts via their calculator, if you have all of the requested information.

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In an open child support case, either parent, payee or recipient, can request to modify the child support order. Parents can modify a child support order via this form and mail it or drop it off to a local DES office. This form is most commonly used to request payment modifications due to income changes since the original order was opened.

The child support payee will receive payments in the amount determined by the order for child support via the Arizona Electronic Pay Card (EPC) or direct deposit. The EPC is debit card, managed by Bank of America, but all questions regarding anything other than account tech issues should be directed to DCSS. You should receive the card within two weeks of a successful child support order.

Should there be any issues receiving payment from the payee in a child support order there are a number of enforcement actions the DCSS can take to collect payments. These enforcement actions include an administrative income withholding order (submitted to the employer to withhold payment from paychecks), Arizona Department if Revenue (DOR) State and Federal Income Tax Refund Offset, asset seizures, credit bureau reporting, passport denial, property liens, lottery winning interception, license suspension or revocation, new hire reporting access, withhold unemployment benefits, they can attach workers compensation benefits to owed child support balances, and creating federal administrative offsets.

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As the payee, if you get behind in payments the DCSS does offer settlement of arrears options. To be clear, this would only be regarding the past due payments. The DCSS will still expect regularly scheduled payments, unless the past due balances would close the case.

Sometimes an open child support case involves another state, in addition to Arizona. This is when the parents reside in separate states. In this case, the local DCSS must follow the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Depending on the situation some time this law allows Arizona to act as though both parents live in Arizona or they have to request assistance from the other State.

The Department of Child Support Services is required to post information on a quarterly basis identifying at least ten parent evading child support. Evading child support payments is more intense than just a few missed payments. The payee must meet the following requirement before this takes place; owe over $5,000 in cold support, their location is unknown, past due support of at least 12 months, they have no active bankruptcy or welfare cases, and no payment has been made to DCSS within the last 6 months

Only the child support applicant, who requests the child support services can close an active case, for obvious reasons. A case can be reopened with new child support case application.

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