Arizona child support offenders face federal scrutiny

Parents who fail to make child support payments could be reported to the Office of the Inspector General.

Family law matters like divorce and child support are generally handled by state courts. However, a local ABC affiliate notes that the Office of the Inspector General, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, is increasing the ability of parents to track those who are delinquent in child support payments.

The federal agency has a site that allows the public to report individuals that are not making child support payments. The information on the Report a Fugitive form includes where the offender was last seen as well as various pieces of descriptive information such as the approximate age and height of the observed individual and the type of vehicle the alleged offender was using.

More on child support determinations in Arizona

The Report a Fugitive form is allowed in certain situations where a parent is in debt for making child support payments. Arizona uses a child support calculator to determine the amount owed by the non custodial parent. The calculator uses information about the parent's income, spousal maintenance, medical costs and educational expenses for the children when making this determination.

Child support orders that were filed after May 21, 2011 use the 2011 Child Support Calculator while those made between December 31, 2004 and June 1, 2011 use the 2005 Child Support Calculator.

Delinquent child support payments and Arizona law

Parents in Arizona who fail to make required payments can face serious consequences. In addition to potential tracking through the Report a Fugitive form, state law requires the public identification of those who are delinquent in child support payments. The Arizona Department of Economic Security, or DES, notes that this can include the posting of a photo of the parent who is behind in payments in public and private locations as well as on the Internet.

The Arizona Division of Child Support Services, or DCSS, may also classify a parent as a Child Support Evader. In order to meet this classification, a variety of conditions must be met. Some examples include:

  • Parent must be behind in payments by over $5,000 and not made a payment in the past six months.
  • Location of the parent is unknown.
  • An arrest warrant has been issued.

The DES has a listing of the current Child Support Evaders in the state. The listing includes a photo of the parents that are delinquent in payments, the amount that they owe along with a basic physical description and any distinguishing features like tattoos. The site also includes basic information on the parent's employment history. This is included both to help increase the awareness of potential employers and to aid in the identification of these individuals.

Importance of legal counsel

Child support payments are designed to help parents provide for their children. The initial determination is important, and legal counsel can help to better ensure a fair child support payment determination is made. Those going through a divorce are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced Arizona child support lawyer to help better ensure a favorable outcome.

Keywords: child support family law