Arizona Child Support Enforcement Laws

Arizona Child Support Enforcement

A child support order is a legal obligation. After a child support amount has been ordered by the court, payments must be made on a monthly basis and paid on time as specified in the child support order. If payments are not made on time, a variety of actions can be taken against the paying parent, including:

  • Court action which could result in incarceration (jail time)
  • Liens on personal and real property and motor vehicles
  • License suspension (drivers, professional, recreational)
  • Tax refund intercepts (both state and federal)
  • Bank account seizure
  • Passport denial
  • Credit bureau reporting
  • Lottery winning intercept
  • Unemployment Insurance benefit intercept
  • Worker’s compensation interception.

How Do I Enforce a Child Support Order?

To collect the unpaid child support amounts, you can:

Criminal Prosecution

If the court decides that the non-custodial parent could pay some or all of the amount owed, the payer can be held in contempt. Penalties for contempt may include any of the enforcement methods listed here (like suspending a driver’s license), plus fines, jail time, and other penalties. Additionally, the non-paying parent can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony and face jail or prison time.

Modifying an Order

If a parent is having problems making payments, he or she should contact the court immediately. The parent can always seek to modify their existing support order. This will require going back to court and explaining to the judge why you can’t make your payments. Only a judge can change the amount you owe under a support order. The child support amount may be modified if the parent asking the court to modify the amount can prove that there has been a "change in circumstances."

A change of circumstances typically means that income has changed significantly or a change of custody has taken place.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Arizona's child support enforcement laws.

See also Child Support Enforcement FAQs, How Do I Locate a Parent for Child Support, Enforcement and Collection of Back Child Support.

Agencies Arizona Department of Child Support Services, Arizona Attorney General
Remedies Available
  • Withholding income from a parent's wages;
  • Placing liens on a parent's real or personal property;
  • Garnishing state and federal tax refunds;
  • Withhold child support from a paycheck or from unemployment benefits;
  • Garnish worker's compensation benefits;
  • Suspending driving, occupational, sporting and/or recreational licenses;
  • Credit bureau reports;
  • Bench warrants for arrest;
  • Passport denial or revocation;
  • File contempt of court actions, which could result in a jail sentence.
Interest on Missed Child Support Payments Arizona allows for interest on missed child support payments, retroactive support, and adjudicated arrears at a rate of 10% interest per year.

Federal Enforcement

If the non-custodial parent moves out of Virginia, the support order can still be enforced in any other U.S. state under the Uniform Federal Family Support Act. If you need help locating the other parent, the federal government has a Federal Parent Locator Service.

Other Resources

Child support enforcement laws are complicated. You may wish to contact a family law attorney in your area.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.