Arizona Child Support
by Ed Lawson
My ex and I divorced 24 years ago. The mother was granted custody, I received visitation we share 1 surviving child now 24. She/ they left AZ in 1990 what court order (oh well). I left AZ in 1992. AZ is the custodial state. Each of us now reside in different states.
I have almost always held a state job. I worked for AZ until 1992. Now I have been with my new state Dept. for 15 years. Before I started working for my new state Dept., almost 2 years had past. You know I fell into arrears. But I got back on track. However I did not pay those arrears. I had a wage assignment through my payroll Dept. and DCSE always intercepted my income tax, at a pretty good clip too. Because the Wage assignment worked so well I had an unblemished support payment record in my new state.
In 2004 our son turned 20 years old. He was out of the mother’s home and he was not continuing his education. I thought for sure any arrears should surly have been received. I asked AZ DCSE for the “Administrative review” DCSE would close this case.
The review took 4 months. I was stunned when I read the close out amount. This is not exact.. AZ said I now owed the custodial parent more than $18,000.00. I established arrears to this account in 1991, 92 and 93 these arrears have not been paid. DCSE said I owed nearly $800.00 in arrears at that time and the balance was interest on the arrears. In 2004 From my state and over the phone we had a hearing. I could not convince the court how I felt there was a misunderstanding. The numbers did not add up and AZ never
implied they would apply interest in the first place. I was not hiding. The new order said I owed this money.
That the arrears were subject to compounded interest and there could be no interest on interest. A wage assignment would be modified to a lower amount to help satisfy the principal arrears AZ returned an income tax intercept; they said an intercept was not a vehicle they could use to collect interest.
My feeling is this was very likely one of the first cases in AZ that used the DCSE system. I have all the payment records over the years. Arizona has adapted or upgraded their payment record system four times between 1983 and 2004. I can see where a new system is not consistent to the previous record, money that is not accounted fore and where one record showed application to arrears and another showed the same payment to the principal support order. This will effect how interest is calculated. When I worked for AZ. the State Dept paid its employees every two weeks. There were a couple of months in the year we received three pay periods. DCSE received additional payments in those months and then shorted the following month each time this occurred. I believe this could also have an impact on how interest is calculated.
I would have to go to AZ and hire an attorney at great expense and time away from my family and my position to try to clear this up. I anticipate the monetary cost would be equivalent to what AZ says I owe. The money is to be paid. I could do it to spite her, but she is already on the payment plan.
I’m interested in any Arizona Davison of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) cases that ring a bell.