Here are Some Suggestions On How to Handle a Deadbeat Parent

Once a divorce is finalized, both parties should have an understanding of their obligations. One of the most important obligations is for a parent to provide financial support to their child. Child support is typically made part of the divorce order, and is calculated by the judge, using a formula. Once child support payments are set, it is the responsibility of the parent to follow the court order. If payments stop, you may wonder how to handle a deadbeat parent.


Legally, a parent is responsible for abiding by a court order to make child support payments, and is breaking the law by failing to pay. When this happens, action should be taken to try to enforce the order. A parent may be unable to pay because of financial difficulties, or, may simply be ignoring his or her duties.

Locating a Parent who is missing

Sometimes, a parent has moved, or is no longer able to be located. When this happens, the parent must be located before any action can be taken. If you are unable to communicate with the child’s parent, you may need to handle the matter through legal means. The State of Arizona’s Department of Economic Security has a procedure in place to enforce child support orders. If asked, they will take steps to locate a deadbeat parent.

File a Child Support Enforcement Petition

If you are owed back child support, you may choose to file a child support enforcement petition. This can be done more easily with assistance from an experienced family law attorney. The petition, or a motion for contempt, is handled through the family court system. The parent is served with a summons to appear at a court hearing. At the hearing, the judge will examine the details of the situation and will impose a remedy.

Court-Imposed Remedies for Non-Payment of Child Support

The court can impose a remedy for the failure to pay child support. There are a number of different options that the judge may choose from. The judge may order wage garnishment and, if the State is involved as a party, a property lien, seizure of assets, and the interception of tax refunds and lottery winnings. The judge may also order jail time, and could revoke the parent’s driver’s license. The judge will try to provide the best possible resolution for the situation.

If you are owed back child support, contact the skilled lawyers at Udall Shumway PLC to assist you in the matter.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Deadbeat Parent, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Lindsay A.M. Olivarez at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.