How long will a parent in Phoenix have to make child support payments for?

Phoenix, AZ – Once a parent is subject to child support payments after a divorce, custody hearing, or paternity test, this will become a serious financial obligation. Depending on the child’s age, these will normally last several years. If the child is very young when the payments are ordered, they will continue for almost two decades. This means that the parent subject to making support payments should be prepared to make child support a priority, as consequences for missed payments can be severe. 

State law for the duration of child support

Child support cases in Phoenix are governed by the Arizona statutes. These contain the state laws related to child support. The termination date for support payments is usually when the youngest child named in the order turns 18. The payments formally end when the month that contains the child’s 18th birthday concludes. In some situations where the child is still in high school on their 18th birthday, the payments will continue until the end of the month that contains the child’s graduation date. In other words, the parent who is obligated to make payments will have to do so until the child turns 18 or finishes high school. 

Modification of payments

If a parent starts having trouble making the payments before the child’s 18th birthday, they can formally ask for modifications. The order can be modified to be increased or decreased based on certain factors. This includes a job loss or change, changes in health insurance policies or costs, a new custody arrangement that changes the custody time of the parents, or if one parent is sentenced to jail after a criminal case. The modification needs to be formally approved by a judge before the new payments are due, and the prior order stays in place until changed. It can also take several months for a request to modify support payments to be approved or rejected. 

What happens if the parent tries to stop making payments before the end date?

Any payments that are not made when they are due can result in various problems for the parent. Arizona law says that the courts can punish the person by suspending their driver’s license, placing a lien on their property, taking their tax refunds away, reporting to the credit bureaus, freezing a bank account, and taking benefits from unemployment or other forms of insurance. For these reasons, it is best for anyone who thinks they cannot make payments to try to modify them and get legal help immediately.  

Assistance from a local child support lawyer

Schneider and Onofry is a firm that handles family law cases in the Phoenix area. Their attorneys can answer questions about divorces, child custody, support payments, and other related issues.  

Firm contact info:

Schneider & Onofry, P.C.

207 W. 2nd St., Yuma AZ 85364



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