What is a Non-Custodial Parent and How to Find One?

non-custodial parentAfter a separation or a dissolution of marriage, parents are often labeled as a custodial and non-custodial party when children are involved. In most circumstances, non-custodial parties are required to pay child support to the custodial party as their share of financial responsibility of the child. Unfortunately, there are times when the non-custodial party doesn’t live up to their obligations. They will not pay support or disappear altogether. Then it is up to the custodial party, the courts, and legal counsel to find them.

The Process of Finding the Non-Custodial Parent

When a non-custodial party skips out on their obligation to pay child support, it soon becomes the job of other people to find them. In most cases, it is the custodial parent or their legal counsel that is tasked with finding the information for the court. This information can come in the form of the current location, work information, and financial information.

These are some of the ways that legal counsel and custodial parties find information:

  • The Federal Parent Locator Services- this service provides help through resources available on the Federal level to help find non-custodial parties and enforce child support
  • State locating networks
  • The family of the non-custodial party- there are times when these family members have no idea the non-custodial parent is not upholding their obligations
  • Speaking with current or past employers of the non-custodial party
  • Telephone company or phone book
  • United States Postal Service
  • Financial references
  • Any Unions that the non-custodial party may be a part of
  • Departments operated by the state- the ones who offer the most help are the ones who keep records on financial assistance, unemployment, wages and employment, public assistance, taxes, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registration.

Click here for an article on how do I locate a parent for child support.

Using State Parent Locator Services

Each state uses its own resources to find non-custodial parties. These resources are often databases that house employer information on new hires, the state case registry, and the disbursement unit. The case registry is the home of all the child support cases, and the disbursement unit is responsible for payments.

All three of these databases work in tandem, ensuring that those with an active child support case are upheld when employment changes and the non-custodial party is input in the new hire database. The disbursement department can then ensure payments are resumed as soon as possible.

State and Federal Offset

When a non-custodial party files their tax return, the state and federal government may use this to offset an arrearage. An arrearage occurs when the non-custodial party is behind on their child support payments and has not caught previous payments up. This method can be used even if the location of the non-custodial party is not recovered. This is an automatic method of obtaining past-due child support. The custodial party does not have to do anything to get this, the state will process all funds against the case, and then they will disburse it.

Getting Help Finding a Non-Custodial Party

The first thing that needs to be done when trying to enforce a child support order is to speak with an Arizona family law lawyer who is experienced in these types of cases. Most family lawyers have handled cases where the non-custodial party is not upholding their part in the child support case. These lawyers will often provide a consultation on your case for free. So when you need help executing your child support order, contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney today.

Find out about filing an order of protection in Arizona.