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How to Get Child Support Arrears Dismissed

How to Get Child Support Arrears Dismissed



How to Get Child Support Arrears Dismissed

Upon becoming a parent, it is your responsibility to provide for your child. Some parents may struggle with that obligation, however, leading to them accumulating child support arrears.

There is no question that parents should do everything in their power to fulfill their obligations to their children. Still, we cannot ignore the reality that some parents have valid reasons for why they struggle to keep up with payments.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the subject of child support and its importance. We’ll also highlight the different reasons why parents cannot always pay on time and the penalties stemming from that. You’ll also learn more about the process of getting unpaid child support dismissed.

What Is Child Support?

To get things started, let us first define child support. In cases where the parents of an underage child or children are divorced or separated, they usually award one parent primary custody, while designating the other as the non-custodial parent. Crucially, non-custodial parents may still have legal custody over their child even if they don’t have physical custody, according to VeryWell Family.

Regardless of which party they award primary custody, both parents still need to bear the financial responsibility of raising their child or children. The state of Arizona requires both parents to offer “reasonable support” to their kids, who the courts regard as minors.

This is where child support comes into play.

Child support divides financial responsibility among the parents. While the parent with primary custody may be in charge of paying for their kids’ daily expenses, the other parent must still provide timely payments.

The timeliness of child support payments can vary depending upon what the parents agreed upon. Often, they pay monthly. That’s probably due in no small part to many child support payments being taken directly from paychecks.

child support arrears

How Are Child Support Payments Used?

The parents will have to determine how to use the child support payments. You probably know what to expect here, though.

You can use child support payments for food, school-related expenses, medical bills, clothing, toys, and housing. If there are activities that a child wishes to try, the support payments can also go toward them.

Basically, if you use the payments for something the child benefits from, no issues will arise.

Custodial parents must refrain from using the child support payments on themselves. If the custodial parent uses the support payments on their own expenses, they may run into trouble with their co-parent and possibly the law.

How Are Child Support Payment Amounts Calculated?

There is no one set of guidelines followed by all the states in the country when it comes to determining how much child support a non-custodial parent owes.

In the state of Arizona, some of the factors considered include the child’s medical bills, childcare costs, and education expenses. The state also refers to a Schedule of Basic Support Obligations, which accounts for the number of children and the adjusted gross income of both parents. The child support payments will also be proportionate to the salaries the parents are taking home.

Figuring out the right amount of child support payments you are obligated to make and negotiating with the other party can be complicated undertakings. That’s why many parents enlist the help of experienced lawyers in these scenarios.

What Are Child Support Arrears?

Child support arrears refer to unpaid child support payments. There are also two types of child support arrears.

Assigned Child Support Arrears

First off, you have what is known as assigned child support arrears. Assigned child support arrears pile up when the non-custodial parent fails to fulfill his/her obligation while the custodial parent is on public assistance. I In a case such as that, the non-custodial parent owes money to the state as opposed to the custodial parent since the government is supporting their child.

When accounting for assigned child support arrears, there is no guarantee that the custodial parent will receive any money from the payments made by the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent’s priority is to pay the state in full. If there is money left over once they pay the arrears, the custodial parent will receive that amount.

Non-custodial parents who have accumulated assigned child support arrears could find themselves in a difficult position. The good news for them is that states are willing to negotiate their debts.

Unassigned Child Support Arrears

Unassigned child support arrears refer to the payments a non-custodial parent owes directly to their co-parent. This time around, the government will not receive any money from the provided back payments.

Unassigned child support arrears don’t necessarily have to be paid by the non-custodial parent provided that the parent with primary custody agrees to waive those debts. We’ll get into the process of having those child support arrears waived later in this article.

Why Do Parents Fall Behind on Child Support Payments?

We first want to reiterate in this section that it is a parent’s job to financially support their child. Becoming a parent is an enormous responsibility, and you must be ready for everything that entails before taking the plunge.

Unfortunately, circumstances do change. Some parents may want nothing more than to support their children, but the reality of their situation may prevent them from doing so.

Included below are some of the reasons why non-custodial parents may fall behind on their child support payments.

The Non-Custodial Parent No Longer Has a Job

Losing a job is a nightmarish scenario for many. Suddenly,  the source of income for food, rent money, and other essential expenses are gone. Parents will also have a tough time keeping up with their child support payments if they’ve lost their job.

The Non-Custodial Parent’s New Job Pays Less

Non-custodial parents may have jobs but cannot meet the terms of the agreement with the custodial parent. This often happens when the non-custodial parent gets demoted at work or if they’re starting a new job that doesn’t pay as well.

The issue here is that the agreement both parties signed up for previously is no longer an accurate representation of the parents’ current financial situations. Now that one party is making significantly less money, they cannot abide by the guidelines set in the agreement.

The Non-Custodial Parent Has a Serious Medical Condition

The non-custodial parent’s medical condition could also explain why they can no longer make payments on time. The parent in question may have recently suffered a heart attack and is currently unable to work. It’s also possible that they had to undergo emergency surgery that has impacted their finances.

A chronic illness affecting the non-custodial parent may also worsen over time. Because of that, their medical expenses may increase, thus making it harder for them to fulfill their obligation to their child.

The Non-Custodial Parent Is Unable to Pay the Arrears Due to Interest Accrued

Yes, interest can indeed accumulate on overdue child support payments. The interest rates can vary depending on the state.

Some states like Connecticut, Delaware, and Hawaii don’t add interest to child support arrears, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Meanwhile, states such as Colorado, Kentucky, and Washington impose an annual interest rate of 12 percent. In Arizona, an interest rate of 10 percent per annum is on arrears.

As a non-custodial parent working to make up for unpaid child support, you may be caught off guard by the accumulated interest. You may have assumed that you had enough money to cover your missed payments only to find out later that the added interest means you have more work to do.

What Are the Penalties Imposed on Parents Who Cannot Make Child Support Payments?

Once they determine that you’re missing child support payments and there’s no valid reason, you can find yourself facing serious consequences. Debt.org has highlighted some of the penalties.

A Bad Credit Score

Remember that loan you were planning to take out to start your dream business? Well, you may need to bid farewell to that dream if you’ve been late on your child support payments.

The government allows credit agencies to know if you’re missing those payments. The agencies may adjust your credit score to reflect that. You’ll probably have a hard time securing a loan, and even if you do, the terms may be difficult for you.

The Loss of a Driver’s License

Getting around town could become an ordeal unto itself if you start missing child support payments. The state may suspend your driver’s license, and you may need to pay up before you get it back.

Your Finances Are Targeted

The government has a way of making unwilling debtors pay up. In the case of parents not paying child support, the government can order wages to be garnished or seize tax returns.

A Jail or Prison Sentence

Among the penalties people may be hit with if they fail to comply with the law is incarceration. Don’t assume that you can avoid that kind of punishment even if we’re only talking about unpaid child support.

Since the courts mandate child support payments, you could find yourself in legal hot water if you fail to pay. On top of that, accumulating a hefty bill for child support owed could land you in prison.

How Do You Get Your Child Support Arrears Waived?

We’ve already highlighted some of the reasons why parents can’t pay child support as well as the penalties they may face for their failure to comply with a government order. You probably want nothing to do with prison, so the best thing you can do if you cannot make payments any longer is to get the arrears waived.

Here is how you get unassigned child support arrears waived or reduced:

  • Get in Touch with Your Co-Parent – Start the process by contacting your co-parent and explain why you no longer can make the payments in your agreement. You will need them to agree to the revised terms, or else nothing will happen.
  • Create a New Written Agreement – Together with your respective lawyers, you and your co-parent must now work on crafting a revised agreement. The lawyers will help you avoid mistakes and ensure that the document is ready for the next step.
  • File the New Agreement with the Court – Now that the new agreement is ready, you can file it with the court. Remember to include the explanations for why you’re revising the agreement in the document.
  • See What the Court Decides – There is no guarantee that the court will sign off on the revised agreement. As far as the court is concerned, their job is to see that you meet the best interests of the child or children.
  • Tweak the Agreement and Re-file – In cases where the court didn’t approve the revised agreement, both sides can continue negotiating until they create something better. Now, here is how you get assigned child support arrears waived:
  • Enter Waiver Negotiations with the State – Instead of making your case to your co-parent, your main task is to convince the government that the agreement must be changed. Continue negotiating together with your lawyer until you can get the assigned arrears waived or at least reduced.
  • Inform Your Co-Parent – Don’t forget to inform your co-parent about the steps you’re taking to have your arrears waived or reduced. While evaluating your request, the court may get in touch with your co-parent, and the information they provide may influence the court’s decision.
  • Follow the Court’s Conditions – According to LegalZoom, the court may require you to meet certain conditions if you want your debt waived or reduced. Understand those conditions well and make sure you follow them as best you can.

You’ll have a tough time negotiating agreements regarding child support and child support arrears on your own. It’s best to partner up with a lawyer who has experience regarding these cases. Work with us at the Schill Law Group and we will do everything in our power to secure the best agreement for you, your co-parent, and your children.


9 Common Factors of Divorce in Arizona, from Start to Finish

9 Common Factors of Divorce in Arizona, from Start to Finish

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

9 Common Factors of Divorce in Arizona, from Start to Finish

Many people who decide to divorce have never been in court and are unfamiliar with what to expect. If you want to end your marriage, you will have to go through the divorce process. While there are certain exceptions through which you might be able to get an annulment, most people will need to go through the divorce process to terminate their marriages.

In Arizona, this process is called a dissolution. When you go through the dissolution process, you will need to make decisions about many different issues, including community property, debt and asset division, spousal maintenance, child custody and visitation, and child support. By understanding the divorce process, you might be able to anticipate what to expect.

The attorneys at the Schill Law Group can help to guide you throughout the process and demystify it for you. Here is an overview of the stages of a divorce from its beginning to the end.

1. Filing the Petition for Dissolution

The first step to take when you want to get a divorce is to file the petition for dissolution. Under A.R.S. § 25-311, people must make sure to file their petitions for dissolution with the court that has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Under A.R.S. § 25-312, one or both of the parties must have been domiciled or serving in the military in Arizona for at least 90 days at the time that the petition is filed. Your petition will be filed along with a summons and other documents, including a preliminary injunction, request for temporary orders, and others that apply to your situation. In your petition, you will list what you are requesting about property division, spousal maintenance, child custody and visitation, child support, and attorney’s fees and costs.

2. Service of Process and the Response

After your petition and other documents are filed, the court will issue a notice and summons to respond. You must serve copies of the petition, the summons, and any other legal documents that you have filed in the case of your spouse. You will be called the petitioner, and your spouse will be called the respondent. You can hire a private process server or use the sheriff’s department to serve your spouse.

However, if you can get your spouse to agree to waive service of the documents, he or she can sign a waiver that can be filed with the court. Once your spouse has been properly served with notice of your divorce, he or she will have time to file the response. If your spouse lives in Arizona, he or she will have to respond to your petition within 20 days of when he or she was served. If your spouse lives out of the state, he or she will have 30 days to file his or her response. Under Arizona law, the only defense to a petition for dissolution in a regular divorce is that the marriage is not irretrievably broken under A.R.S. § 25-314. If your spouse fails to respond to the petition after being properly served, the court can grant a default divorce decree after 60 days from the date of service.

3. Temporary Orders

In some cases, people will file requests for temporary orders or preliminary injunctions at the time that they file petitions for divorce under A.R.S. § 25-315. Either party can ask for temporary orders, including the respondents. These orders establish the rules for how different things will be handled while the divorce is still pending.

For example, you might ask for temporary orders for child custody and visitation, child support, who will remain in the house, who will be responsible for paying the bills, and spousal maintenance. A preliminary injunction might be issued by the court to restrain both you and your spouse from spoliating or disposing of the property before the divorce is completed.

It can take a few months before temporary orders are issued. If there is an emergency, a spouse can request emergency temporary orders that can be heard much faster.

4. The Discovery Process

Once the petition and response have been filed, the divorce case will move into the discovery phase. Both you and your spouse are entitled to receive information from each other about your assets and other relevant factors about your case.

The process for obtaining the needed information is called discovery. It can be a straightforward process in some cases. In others, it can be time-consuming and expensive. In most cases, the size and value of your estate and the length of your marriage can impact how much discovery is necessary.

The discovery phase might involve several procedures. Your lawyer will submit and receive information for you, but you will also need to provide input. Interrogatories are written lists of questions that you can send to your spouse. Your spouse can also send interrogatories to you. If you receive interrogatories, you must respond with written answers within a set period.

If you need certain documents that have not been provided to you, your attorney can file a request for the production of documents to secure them. Either you or your spouse can schedule a deposition. This is an out-of-court proceeding during which you, your spouse, and other witnesses may be asked questions under oath and in person. When a deposition is held, a court reporter will be present and will prepare a transcript of what occurred. The attorneys will ask the questions at a deposition.

In some cases, attorneys can complete discovery without resorting to the formal processes that have been described above. This is almost always less expensive and more efficient than going through a more formal process.

5. Negotiating a Settlement

Other than in cases that involve domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, child abuse, or people who are possibly hiding assets, it is often best to try to resolve a divorce case by negotiating a settlement agreement. People who can negotiate divorce settlements are often happier than those who leave the decisions up to the judge.

Negotiated settlements give the parties greater control and privacy. Spouses who reach negotiated settlements are likelier to comply with them than they are with orders from a court. If you reach a negotiated settlement with your spouse, you can file it in court. As long as the judge finds that your agreement is fair and conscionable, your settlement agreement will be a part of your final divorce decree.

Judges may sometimes order mediation to try to encourage the parties to settle their cases. In many cases, people can resolve many of their outstanding legal issues during mediation. Your lawyer can represent you during mediation. While he or she may recommend that you reject or accept a proposal to settle, the decision will be yours.

6. Divorce Trial

If you cannot reach a settlement agreement with your spouse, your divorce case will go to a divorce trial. At your trial, you will each be provided with the opportunity to present evidence, call witnesses, give testimony, and submit exhibits. You and your spouse will likely have to testify and to submit to cross-examination by the opposing attorney.

If your case does go to trial, it will likely be more expensive. In some cases, it might be the only way to reach an end to your marriage. You should keep in mind that trials are risky. Your attorney cannot predict the outcome for you. The judge will issue his or her orders as he or she understands the case. The judge will not know you or your spouse but will be given the power to tell you how to live your life after your divorce.

In some cases, a trial will not be the final step of a case. If you or your spouse are unhappy with what happened, either of you can file an appeal. If an appeal is filed, more time and expense will be involved. Appeals are also difficult to win.

7. Divorces with Children and Custody Issues

If your divorce will involve child custody issues for the minor children that you share with your spouse, you will have to file a petition for dissolution with minor children. For this type of divorce, you and your spouse will need to try to negotiate a parenting plan. If you cannot reach an agreement, you will each need to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court.

Child custody and visitation issues are frequently among the most contentious issues in divorce. They can also present added challenges for your attorney. While your lawyer is loyal to you, he or she also must keep the best interests of the children in mind.

Your parenting plan will include information about legal decision-making authority and parenting time for you and your spouse. Legal decision-making authority refers to which of you will have the ability to make decisions for your child’s religion, education, and medical care. Parenting time refers to where your child will reside and how much visitation time he or she will have with the other parent.

Legal decision-making authority and physical custody may both be either sole or shared. Your attorney can explain how this might look and advise you on the types of custody that might be most appropriate in your situation. Parents who are divorcing, with minor children, will also be required to attend parenting classes.

8. Determination of Child Support

Another issue that will be at play in a divorce with children in Arizona is child support. Under A.R.S. § 25-501, both parents are expected to contribute financially to the upbringing of their child. Arizona has child support guidelines for courts to use to determine the amount of support to order. This can help to make the amount of child support that you might have to pay or might receive more predictable.

9. Keeping the Best Interests of Your Children in Mind

If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse about child custody issues, the court will follow the factors that are outlined under the best interests of the child standard in A.R.S. § 25-403. Regardless of whether you take your child custody issues to trial, you should conduct yourself in a way that will minimize the emotional harm to your children during and after your divorce.

Always put your children first. You should never try to use them as a weapon against your estranged spouse. Do not talk badly about your spouse to your children or in front of them to others. Encourage your children to spend a lot of time with your spouse. Remember that divorce is just as hard on children as it is on the adults.

However, children are less equipped to deal with the emotional conflicts and fallout that divorce can bring.

You should not introduce your children to your new romantic interest until they have had plenty of time to adjust to their new reality. You should also not take your children with you to your attorney’s office or the court. Be flexible and try to stick to the schedule that has been ordered or that you have created with your spouse.

Talk to your spouse about discipline issues and try to reach an agreement so that there can be continuity between both of your homes.

Complete Help from the Phoenix Divorce Lawyers at the Schill Law Group

Getting divorced is not easy for most people. If you want to end your marriage or have been served with a petition for divorce, contact the Schill Law Group for help and guidance through difficult times. Call us today at 480.525.8900 to schedule a consultation.


Divorce Involving Children in Arizona

Divorce Involving Children in Arizona

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Divorce Involving Children in Arizona

The decision to divorce can be difficult for any couple in Arizona. When a divorcing couple shares children, the process can be even harder on everyone involved. Divorces involving children will involve all of the other legal issues of other types of divorces, including property division and the potential for spousal support.

However, when children are involved, the couple will need to contend with child custody, child support, and the potential for parental relocation. Working with an experienced family law attorney at the Schill Law Group might help you to resolve your legal disputes when you are going through a divorce with children in Arizona.

How is the Divorce Process Started?

To begin the divorce process in Arizona, the spouse who wants to get divorced will need to file several legal documents. The initial document that must be filed in a non-covenant dissolution involving children is the petition for dissolution. Together with the petition, most people also file the preliminary injunction, which is a document that will result in an order that prevents either party from selling, transferring, or giving away the marital property until the property division has been determined.

Some women choose to file a request to restore their maiden names. An order and notice form for both parents to attend the required parenting classes should be filed. Finally, a summons must be filed. The filing fee will need to be paid at the time the petition is filed. Once the documents are filed, the court will issue the summons. The summons and copies of the petition and other legal documents will then need to be served on the respondent spouse.

Once the petition and other documents have been served on the other spouse, both parents will be required to complete the parenting classes within 45 days. The parties will also need to submit a parenting plan to the court if they have reached an agreement. If they have not, each spouse can submit a proposed parenting plan to the court to be litigated during a hearing. The court will not issue a divorce decree until the classes are completed.

Once the court has received all of the documents, the judge will make sure that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case. To meet the residency requirements, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for 90 or more days. If both spouses agree to everything, including the determination of custody and support, there will be a 60-day waiting period after the service of the petition before a final decree can be issued.

How is Child Custody and Visitations Handled While the Divorce is Pending?

A court can issue temporary orders when a petition for dissolution is filed. These orders can be used to determine which spouse will remain in the marital home during the pendency of the divorce, whether one spouse will be ordered to pay spousal maintenance to the other spouse, who will be responsible for paying specific bills, and where the children will live. If the parties agree, some of the temporary orders might become permanent orders.

In most divorces involving children in Arizona, the spouse who files a petition for dissolution will also file a request for temporary child custody orders. Parents file these requests to outline where the children will live and how visitation with the other parent will be handled until the final decree is issued.

The goal should be to minimize the upheaval in the lives of the children as much as possible. When the court decides what temporary orders to issue, the judge will consider what is in the child’s best interests. The temporary orders will normally outline where the children will live, the type and amount of visitation the children will have with the other parent, temporary child support, legal decision-making, and a protective order to prevent one of the parents from kidnapping the children or withholding them from the other parent.

The following factors are important to understand when thinking about temporary orders:

  • Temporary orders will normally remain in effect until the divorce process is completed.
  • The orders will be issued under the best interests of the child standard.
  • Temporary orders can be contested.
  • The parents must follow the orders or face potential criminal consequences.
  • Temporary orders may become permanent if the parents agree.

It can take a couple of months before the court will hear a request for temporary custody orders. Either party can file a request for emergency temporary orders that can be heard within 24 hours. Normally, the requesting parent will need to show that the children might suffer irreparable harm without an emergency order.

In most of these types of cases, mental health issues, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence is involved. Most of these types of requests are heard ex parte, which means that only the requesting party will appear. The judge will base his or her decision on the testimony and declarations made by the requesting party.

If the court grants the emergency custody order, a return hearing will be scheduled within seven days. The respondent spouse will then have a chance to gather evidence to contest the order and the allegations that the petitioner has made. Based on the evidence and testimony at the emergency order return hearing, the court might issue temporary orders, dismiss the emergency temporary order, or modify it.

What is the Standard Used for Determining Child Custody?

In Arizona, the courts follow the best interests of the child statute when they make child custody decisions. This standard involves the court’s consideration of several factors, which can be found at A.R.S. § 25-403. Under this statute, the courts consider the following factors:

  • The relationship between the child and the parent in the past, present, and likely future
  • The child’s relationship with the parent, siblings, and others in the home
  • How well the child is adjusted to his or her school, home, and community
  • The child’s wishes as long as he or she is of a suitable maturity and age
  • The physical and mental health of all of the involved parties
  • Whether one parent is likelier to encourage frequent and continuing contact with the child’s other parent unless domestic violence or abuse is involved
  • Whether one of the parents misled the court intentionally
  • Whether child abuse or domestic violence has occurred
  • Whether one parent engaged in coercion or duress to secure an agreement
  • Whether the parents have completed the required parenting classes
  • Whether one of the parents has been convicted of falsely reporting child abuse or neglect

When the decision making and visitation are contested, the court will make written findings of each of the factors that the judge took under consideration. The court may also consider other relevant factors in addition to those on this list.

What are the Types of Custody in Arizona?

When people think about child custody, they normally think about where the child normally will live. In the legal context, however, legal child custody refers to which spouse will have decision-making authority for important decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, and religious upbringing.

The physical custody of the child involves where the child will live and how much time he or she will spend at each home. Both legal custody and physical custody can be either sole or joint.

Sole Decision-making

Sole decision-making occurs when the court grants the legal authority to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing solely to one parent. Courts generally prefer to order joint decision-making unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, including child abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse, or something else.

When a parent is awarded sole decision-making authority, he or she will be able to make important decisions about the child’s religious upbringing, medical care, and education without having to consult the other parent. In some situations, the court might grant sole decision-making authority to one parent over one area and sole decision-making authority over a different area to the other parent.

Joint Decision-making

Joint decision-making is generally favored by Arizona courts. When joint-decision making is ordered, both parents are expected to participate in making decisions for their children. If it is ordered in your case, you will need to consult with your ex-spouse before making unilateral decisions about the education, medical care, or religious upbringing of your shared children.

Residential Custody

Residential or physical custody of a child refers to where the child lives most of the time. When one parent has primary physical custody, the child resides with that parent most of the time. The other parent will have visitation according to the schedule that the parents or the court determine.

In cases in which abuse, domestic violence, or substance abuse problems have been an issue, one parent may have sole physical custody while the other party might only have supervised visitation.

How is Child Support Determined?

Under A.R.S. § 25-501, Arizona expects both the custodial and non-custodial parents to contribute financially to the upbringing of their children. The courts have guidelines that judges follow when issuing child support orders. The guidelines take into account the relative incomes of each parent, whether they have other children to support, the amount of time the children spend with each parent, and any extraordinary expenses a child might have, among other factors.

The factors that the courts take into account when determining the amount of support to order are listed in A.R.S. § 25-320.

Child support will normally be ordered to continue until a child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school. However, the court can order support to continue past the age of majority. For example, the court might order support payments to continue if children go to college or if they have developmental disabilities. Courts can also deviate from the guideline amount in certain situations.

Schill Law Group can Help With Complex Divorce

Getting divorced is difficult for most people. When children are involved, the divorce process can be more complicated because of the number of issues that may be involved. If you are planning to divorce and share children with your spouse, contact the Schill Law Group today to learn about your options by calling us at 480.525.8900.



In the Child’s “Best Interest”: How to Negotiate for Custody and Visitation

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

In the Child’s “Best Interest”: How to Negotiate for Custody and Visitation

Divorces can be very rough on children. When two parents make the decision to separate from one another, the children may experience significant changes in their lives, and that can result in fear, anxiety, and even anger. In order to minimize these negative feelings, the Arizona court system works diligently to ensure that any decisions that are made regarding the divorce are in the “best interest” of the children involved. What does this mean, exactly? Taking a closer look at what constitutes the best interests of a child will help you ensure a smooth transition for your kids and prepare for court.

Putting Children First

As a parent, your job is to protect and provide for your children. This means that you are always going above and beyond the call of duty in order to ensure that your children are happy and healthy. Divorce doesn’t change any of that. Even when you and your child’s parent make the decision to divorce, your goal is to take care of your kids to the best of your ability. Although emotions and tensions may run high during a divorce, it’s imperative that you work to put your children first when trying to negotiate living arrangements, visitation schedules, child support agreements, etc. Partnering with an experienced lawyer from Schill Law Group can make the process of negotiating with your spouse much easier, and will ensure that someone is fighting on behalf of you and your children, even if you and the other parent can’t reach an agreement outside of the courtroom.

Allowing for Ample Parenting Time

Regardless of how you may feel about your child’s other parent, your child deserves the opportunity to have a positive and healthy relationship with their mother or father. You, your lawyer, and your spouse must come up with a schedule that allows for ample parenting time for both parties. You will need to consider which holidays and traditions are important to your child, and how time should be shared amongst yourselves so that the child is able to stay connected with both sides of his or her family. You will also need to consider how close you and the child’s other parent live to one another, and what is practical in terms of shared living arrangements or visitation. If a child lives far away from one parent, the two should have a regular schedule for communicating via telephone or webcam.

Constant Communication

Even after divorce, communication is essential for ex-partners who are co-parenting their children. If both parents have shared custody, both have the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing and welfare. This means that if an incident occurs related to the child’s health, schooling, or behavior, both parents should be informed and involved. Without adequate communication, this cannot happen. It’s very important that the child receives input from both parents in order to live a happy and well-adjusted life.

Safety First

It’s always imperative that you consider the safety of your child before anything else. If you believe that the child’s other parent may be abusing drugs or alcohol, or may have violent tendencies, it is your responsibility to protect your kids. This doesn’t mean that you can withhold visitation from the other parent on your own, though. You will need to go through the court system and all of the proper channels in order to protect yourself and your children.

Divorce doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for children. When the child’s best interests are taken into consideration, he or she can grow up to be healthy and happy. Contact the team at Schill Law Group today to start building a case for your child’s best interests in your divorce.


Divorce and Kids: Steps to a Smooth Transition

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Divorce and Kids: Steps to a Smooth Transition

Divorce is extremely stressful, and things only get more complicated when there are children involved. For children, divorce can be confusing and scary. As a parent, it’s your job to make sure that as you and your spouse transition into a life separate from one another, your sons and daughters are able to make that transition as smoothly as possible. Here’s a look at a few tips for minimizing the amount of stress and anxiety placed on your children during the divorce process.

Hire an Attorney

The first step to keeping your divorce simple and stress-free for your kids is to hire a divorce attorney right from the get-go. Schill Law Group has worked with countless individuals and families going through the divorce process and understands what it takes to create a safe and nurturing environment for children after their parents have separated. Our team can work with you to come to an agreement with your ex with regards to legal custody of the children, living arrangements, child support, visitation schedules, and more. Having an attorney work with you on these types of arrangements is a critical part of keeping things civil between you and your former spouse so that your children can transition into this new way of life without fear and anxiety. Working with legal representation helps to remove much of the emotional turmoil and drama so that you can focus on what’s truly best for the kids.

Establish Paternity

When a child is born, there’s no question of who the mother is. Even in committed, long-term marriages, though, paternity can come into question. Without legally establishing paternity, a father may find himself stripped of his parental rights. Conversely, without the legal establishment of paternity, a mother may be forced to grant visitation to a man who is not legally the father of her child. It’s a good idea to go through all of the proper channels and legally establish paternity in order to guarantee that no problems arise as the result of your failure to do so.

Obey Court Orders

Once the court makes a ruling about custody, visitation (or “parenting time”), and/or child support, you must comply with this ruling. Even if you disagree with the decision that was initially made, you should never violate a court order as this can lead to much more trouble. Trying to keep your kids longer than the allotted visitation period, for example, could result in a kidnapping charge or you could be held in contempt of court. This is very traumatic for your children and could result in your inability to spend any time with them at all. Failure to pay child support in full and on time, too, is a huge mistake. You may believe that the amount is unreasonable, but that doesn’t mean that you can make the decision not to pay. This is harmful to your children and could lead to penalties. It’s imperative that you always go through the court and petition for changes to be made to the ruling instead of doing whatever you believe is right and fair.

Work Together

Wherever possible, it’s always in the best interest of you and your children to work to cooperate with your ex and keep communications open at all times. Your relationship with your ex will impact your children whether you realize it or not, so try to work together and keep things civil. Trust us – though it may be difficult with some couples, we urge you to grin and bear it for everyone involved.

If you’re going through a divorce with children, you absolutely need someone on your side. The Schill Law Group is experienced in this area and is ready to help you today. Reach out to us for a free case evaluation.

FAQ on Child Support Delinquency in Arizona


With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Child Support Attorneys

Although every divorce is different, many Arizona divorces that involve children result in one parent being ordered to pay child support to the other parent. A judge will consider the income of both parents, the household in which the child or children will spend the majority of their time, the number of children in question, and other factors before determining how much the paying spouse will need to send to the other on a monthly basis. Child support payments can be altered or adjusted over time as income changes, but whatever the ordered amount may be, the paying parent is required by law to make the payment in full and on time.

Despite the fact that the Arizona court system takes child support very seriously, Schill Law Group continues to see many instances of delinquent payments. For one reason or another, the paying parent may fail to pay the correct amount of child support, make late payments, or fail to make payments at all. What can be done about this? Understanding the repercussions of shirking child support obligations is an important part of protecting yourself and your family.

Reasons for Child Support Delinquency in Arizona

Throughout the years, Schill Law Group has witnessed many different child support delinquency cases. In each situation, the delinquent parent has a reason for why he or she failed to make the required child support payments in a timely manner. Some of the explanations for child support delinquency include:

  • Loss of a job
  • Reduction of income
  • Changes to or loss of medical insurance coverage
  • Injury or disability of the parent
  • Changes in childcare costs
  • Incarceration
  • Arguments or misunderstandings between parents

Even in situations where there is a legitimate reason why the paying parent may have fallen behind on child support (such as the loss of a job), the paying parent is still held accountable by the Arizona courts. An individual cannot simply make the decision to stop making payments or reduce the amount being paid without going through the court. Proper steps must be followed in order to adjust the amount of child support. Attempting to take matters into your own hands can lead to serious consequences.

Consequences for Child Support Delinquency in Arizona

As soon as the paying parent becomes delinquent on a child support payment, the other parent has the right to seek legal representation and go to the courts to enforce the child support order. In some cases, the Arizona Department of Child Support Services will become involved and will take steps to garnish the paying parent’s wages, seize assets, revoke his or her driver license, or put a lien on his or her property. In addition to this, an Arizona judge may hold the paying parent in contempt of court and can issue a warrant for his or her arrest. The paying parent may then receive jail time for the delinquent child support payment, and could also be subject to additional fines.

Legal Action for Child Support Delinquency in Arizona

Regardless of whether your child’s parent has become delinquent on child support payments, or if you yourself have fallen behind on making court-ordered child support payments, it’s important to seek legal representation immediately. Arizona courts take child support seriously, and specific steps can and should be taken in order to ensure that the best interests of the child or children in question are met. The Schill Law Group has the experience required to help navigate the situation in a way that will allow for the best and fairest outcome for all parties involved.

Do you require legal assistance with your child support delinquency case? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Schill Law Group. Call us to schedule a free case evaluation today.