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Is it a Crime Not to Pay Child Support in Arizona?

There are many reasons why a parent may stop paying child support. While some deliberately.

Is it a Crime Not to Pay Child Support in Arizona?

There are many reasons why a parent may stop paying child support. While some deliberately withhold payment, other parents simply are not able to maintain payments due to a change in circumstances. Whatever the reason, if a parent that has stopped making child support payments fails to take action, they can face civil and criminal consequences. At Singular Law, our experienced Arizona family law attorneys can help you resolve a child support issue. To learn more, call or contact our office today.

Civil Penalties

The Division of Child Support Services (DCCS) in Arizona has the right to impose a number of different civil penalties against a parent who fails to pay child support. Wage garnishment is the most common, where a portion of the paying parent’s wages are withheld and sent to the recipient parent every pay period. Some of the other civil remedies for a failure to pay child support include the following:

  • Seizure of real estate, personal property, and other assets,
  • Suspension or revocation of professional licenses,
  • Placing liens against personal property and real estate, and
  • Charging the parent with contempt of court.

Many people believe that contempt of court is always a criminal charge, but a parent that is found willingly not paying child support can be placed in civil contempt. Punishment can include daily accruing fines in addition to the amount owed in arrears, and in the most serious cases a parent may even be placed in jail until they pay what is owed. In addition to civil penalties, a parent that fails to pay child support may also face criminal charges.

Criminal Penalties

In Arizona, a parent can also face criminal consequences if they fail to pay child support. A parent can be arrested under the charge of “failure of parent to provide for child,” which is a Class VI felony offense. Penalties for conviction of this offense include up to eighteen months in prison, along with fines and a permanent criminal record.

Based on the circumstances of the case, the court may reduce the charge to a misdemeanor offense. However, that does not mean that a misdemeanor criminal charge should be taken any less lightly for failing to pay child support. Conviction for this misdemeanor crime can result in up to six months in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. To learn more about the civil and criminal punishments that may be imposed if a parent fails to pay child support in Arizona, talk to our office today.

Talk to Our Office Today

Whether intentional or simply because of circumstances, failing to pay child support is a serious matter that needs to be addressed with the help of a highly qualified Arizona attorney. At the Singular Law Group, our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you through this difficult situation. Whether you owe or are owed child support, our firm can assist with your case. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

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