The Process of Filing for Child Support in Maricopa County, AZ

Child support is a crucial aspect of ensuring the well-being and financial stability of children whose parents are no longer together. In Maricopa County, Arizona, the process of filing for child support can be overwhelming and confusing for many parents. As an expert in family law, I have helped numerous clients navigate through the child support system in Maricopa County. In this article, I will provide a comprehensive guide on the process of filing for child support in Maricopa County, AZ.

Understanding Child Support in Maricopa County

Before delving into the process of filing for child support, it is essential to understand what child support is and how it works in Maricopa County.

Child support is a court-ordered payment made by one parent to the other to financially support their child. The amount of child support is determined based on various factors such as the income of both parents, the number of children, and the needs of the child. In Maricopa County, child support is calculated using the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines take into account both parents' gross income and the number of children they have together. The court may also consider other factors such as medical expenses, childcare costs, and educational expenses when determining the amount of child support.

The Process of Filing for Child Support

The first step in filing for child support in Maricopa County is to complete an application with the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES).

This application can be completed online or in person at any DES office. The application requires information about both parents, including their names, addresses, and employment information. Once the application is submitted, DES will review it and determine if there is enough information to establish a child support order. If there is not enough information, DES may request additional documentation from both parents, such as pay stubs and tax returns. After DES has all the necessary information, they will schedule a meeting with both parents to discuss the child support order. During this meeting, both parents will have the opportunity to provide any additional information or ask questions about the child support order. If both parents agree on the amount of child support, DES will prepare a proposed child support order for the court's approval.

However, if there is a disagreement between the parents, DES will refer the case to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) for a hearing.

The Role of OAH in Child Support Cases

OAH is an independent agency that conducts hearings and makes recommendations to the court regarding child support orders. If your case is referred to OAH, you will receive a notice of hearing with the date, time, and location of the hearing. Both parents are required to attend this hearing. During the hearing, both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments regarding the child support order. The administrative law judge will then make a recommendation to the court on the appropriate amount of child support based on the evidence presented. After the hearing, OAH will issue a recommended order to both parents and their attorneys.

If either parent disagrees with the recommended order, they can file an objection with OAH within 14 days. If no objections are filed, OAH's recommended order becomes the final order of the court.

Enforcing Child Support Orders

Once a child support order is established, it is legally binding and must be followed by both parents. However, there are instances where one parent may fail to pay child support as ordered. In such cases, the other parent can seek enforcement of the child support order through the court. The most common method of enforcing child support orders in Maricopa County is through income withholding.

This means that the child support amount is automatically deducted from the paying parent's paycheck and sent to the receiving parent. Other methods of enforcement include seizing tax refunds, suspending driver's licenses, and placing liens on property.

Modifying Child Support Orders

Child support orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances. For example, if one parent loses their job or has a significant increase in income, the child support order may be modified to reflect these changes. To modify a child support order, either parent can file a petition with the court and provide evidence of the change in circumstances.


Filing for child support in Maricopa County, AZ, can be a complex and lengthy process.

It is essential to have an understanding of the process and seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney to ensure your rights are protected. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can navigate through the child support system in Maricopa County and ensure that your child receives the financial support they deserve.

Rosie Roik
Rosie Roik

Hipster-friendly tv buff. Friendly travel fanatic. Avid social media nerd. Incurable tv ninja. Musicaholic.

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