Unfortunately, many people lie to the court during legal decision making (custody) and parenting time cases.  Often, the person who is acting badly is the person lying to the court about the other parent.  Too often, these people get away with it because the judge does not know who to believe.

One American soldier just solved this problem with his GoPro camera.  His wife is accusing him of domestic violence while she is committing domestic violence against him.  He hid his camera on his body and captured her not only committing domestic violence against him, but threatening to falsely accuse him of committing domestic violence against her.  The story is here: http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/2015/09/20/soldier-uses-gopro-to-prove-wifes-domestic-abuse/72545676/

People often ask if it is legal to record telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings.  People often tell me that they want to record the other party because the other party lies about what happens or what people say.  In Arizona, it is legal to record a conversation of which you are a part.  Therefore, you can legally record your phone conversations and encounters that you have with other people.  You may not legally record the conversations of other people without their permission.

The story about the soldier who solved the he-said-she-said problem shows how to effectively use recording devices when the other parent lies to the court.

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Every Parent Has an Obligation to Support His or Her Children.

Arizona law provides that every parent has a duty to provide financial support to his or her children until the children reach the age of majority.  In most circumstances, the age of majority for child support purposes is 18 years or when the child graduates from high school, whichever is later, up to the age of 19 years.  In the case of a disabled child who cannot provide for his or her needs and remains dependant on his or her parents for support, Arizona courts may order a parent to continue to financially support the child past the age of majority.

Arizona Has No Statute of Limitation on Arrears.

Arizona law provides no statute of limitation on child support arrears.  Once a court orders a parent to pay child support, and that parent does not pay child support, there is no statute of limitation on collection of the resulting arrears.  Similarly, judgments for child support arrears do not expire in Arizona.

However, if a court does not enter an order for child support and the custodial parent seeks child support several years after the child’s birth, Arizona law provides that the court may enter judgment for past child support, but only for the last three years.  For example, if a woman gives birth to a baby girl the father never provides financial support to the child, and the mother sues the father for child support when the child is six years old, the court may only grant a judgment for past child support for the time when the child was three to six years old.

Missed Child Support Payments Collect Interest.

Interest on missed child support payments (arrears) in Arizona is ten percent per year.  There is no statute of limitation on interest on child support arrears or judgments for interest on child support arrears.  However, a judgment for past child support only begins to accrue interest when the court grants the judgment.  In other words, a parent can get a judgment for past child support, but not for past interest on past child support.

Do Not Wait to Collect Child Support Arrears.

Although there is no statute of limitation on child support arrears in Arizona, parents should not wait to collect the arrears and enforce the child support order.  When large amounts of arrears and interest accumulate, the chances of successfully collecting or successfully collecting in a timely manner on the arrears decrease.

If you have a child support collection problem, Thomas A. Morton can help you.







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A paternity action establishes the paternity of a child born out of wedlock. It may also establish legal decision making (also known as custody), parenting time (visitation), child support, past child support, and the child’s name. A person filing a paternity action must do so in Arizona Superior Court. The fact that a parent, child, or both are not residents of Arizona does not bar the proceeding. The person filing the action may do so in the county of residence of the person filing, the respondent, or the child. The mother, father, guardian, conservator, "best friend," a county public welfare official or agency, or the State of Arizona may file a paternity action. The person filing the action may do so during the pregnancy of the mother or after the birth of the child, but for the purpose of establishing child support, must do so prior to the child’s 18 birthday.

A party starts a paternity action by filing a verified (i.e., sworn) petition alleging that a woman has given birth to a child or children born out of wedlock or is pregnant with a child conceived out of wedlock and that the respondent is the father. If the respondent does not file an answer or admits that he is the father in his answer, the court must immediately enter a judgment of paternity. The court must then proceed to any other issues, such as legal decision making, parenting time, and child support.

Upon the motion of either party or upon the court’s own motion, the court must order the parties and children to submit to genetic testing by a laboratory chosen by both the parties or appointed by the court. If the likelihood of paternity is 95% or greater, the court presumes that the alleged father is the father of the children. A party may overcome this presumption by clear and convincing evidence, which is a heightened standard of proof.

After the court establishes paternity during a child’s minority, the court must establish a past child support amount, subject to equitable defenses, such as that the child and mother lived with the father and the father supported the household. The court may also direct either party to pay the actual costs of the pregnancy, birthing, genetic testing, and related costs. The court must also establish a current child support amount pursuant to the same guidelines as for other child support cases. The court may modify child support and extend it past the past of majority under the same circumstances as for other child support cases. The court may also award attorney’s fees and costs. The court may also make the parents of a party that is a minor jointly liable for any judgments.

A child’s parents may also establish paternity by filing an affidavit known as an acknowledgment of paternity or an agreement to be bound by genetic testing (along with a copy of the genetic testing) with the Superior Court, the Department of Economic Security, or the Department of Health Services. Upon filing with the Superior Court, the clerk of the court issues an order of paternity which has the same force and effect as a judgment of the court. An acknowledgment of paternity filed with the Department of Economic Security or the Department of Health Services has the same effect as a judgment of the Superior Court.

The court presumes a man to be the father of a child if he was married to the mother at any time during the ten months immediately preceding the child’s birth, genetic testing affirms a 95% or greater probability of paternity, or a mother and father sign the birth certificate of a child born out of wedlock, or the mother and father properly execute an acknowledgment of paternity. An acknowledgment of paternity is only effective if the mother was not married to another man during the ten months immediately preceding the birth of the child. A party can overcome any of these presumptions with clear and convincing evidence. A judgment of paternity from another state has the same force and effect as an order of this state.

If you have further questions about paternity or need representation in a paternity case, Thomas A. Morton is waiting for your call.

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(602) 595-6870

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