How to Make a Spousal Maintenance or Child Support Payment to the Clearinghouse in Arizona
You were just ordered to pay spousal maintenance or child support through the clearinghouse. The order says an “income withholding order will be issued to your employer.” Until then you are to pay the clearinghouse directly.
What does that even mean?
When the judge orders you to pay spousal maintenance or child support it can be confusing. Maybe you aren’t sure where you need to send the check, maybe you don’t’ know what you need to write on the check. When you find yourself in the position where you need to make a payment to being in arrears for late payments or when you could potentially be held in contempt for failing to make a payment you might understandably be worried. Surely you will want to make the payment to the correct institution in a timely manner to avoid the consequences. The judge will generally instruct you to make your payment directly to the Support Payment Clearinghouse. This instruction is lost on most people since they don’t know where to find the Support Payment Clearinghouse. If you make a payment directly to your spouse, this payment might be considered a gift and it might not count as the court ordered payment. This article is designed to help you feel confident that you are making the payment to the correct office so that you can avoid paying arrears or being held in contempt.
Step 1: Determine the Case Number and Amount of the Payment
Find within your court documents the case number and the amount that you will need to pay in spousal maintenance and/or child support, hint this may include an additional arrearage amount.
Step 2: Choose a Payment Method.
Choose a payment method. You can choose to make your payment in whatever way is most convenient for you. You may choose to pay by mail, by Internet, over the phone, or in person.
If you choose to make a payment through the mail, you can use either a personal check or a money order to make the payment. Be sure to include your name and the case number to ensure that you get credit for making the payment.
Make the check or money order payable to Support Payment Clearinghouse.
This check or money order needs to be mailed to this address:
Support Payment Clearinghouse, PO Box 52107, Phoenix, AZ 85072-2107.
AGAIN, be sure to include your name and the case number to ensure that you will be credited for making the payment.
Child Support payments may be made online. The payment may be made after you register with the State of Arizona Payment Gateway. After creating the account, payments can be made to this website.
You may choose to make a payment over the phone. To make a payment over the phone you will need a credit card, along with your case number. You may call one of any of these three numbers to make a payment.
Arizona Payment Gateway: 1-866-562-0140
DCSS Customer Service: 602-252-4045
Toll Free (in Arizona): 1-800-882-4150
Child Support can be paid in person at a number of local offices. To find the office nearest you, click on this link to find a list of local child support offices.
What if the judge issued an income withholding order in my case?
If the judge issues an income withholding order then the money will automatically be taken from your income and transferred to the other party. It is possible that the judge may issue a withholding order, but that the withholding order may be delayed. If the withholding order does not begin immediately, then you will be responsible for making payments to the Support Payment Clearinghouse until the withholding order becomes effective.
Contributing Attorney: Billie Tarascio litigates family law and domestic violence cases at Modern Law.
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