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When is a court order active? Arizona

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  • When is a court order active? Arizona

    In May 1999, I had a hearing with the other party regarding our children, but not for child support modification. When I was about to walk through the doors, the other party handed me papers for support modification. We finished the hearing, and the judge asked if we were going to address the modification issue. I stated that, since I hadn't been served and was only handed the papers as I walked in, I had no documentation with me to submit for the modification calculations. He agreed, and set another date for October 1999. We met, the modification was made, and the judge stated that it was not to be retro-active to the previous court date.

    Here's the problem. CSE made the order retro-active anyway. I contested it, and they backed off, sending me a letter stating that my modification was specifically to start on 11/1/99, not 5/99. Nearly 10 years later, they've decided that was a mistake, and that they're going to re-issue the retro-active modification and charge 10 years of interest on it. I think it is understandable that I don't want to pay about $5000.00 of interest on a debt that shouldn't even exist, and didn't before the early part of this year.

    I've already spoken at great length with my case worker, who has stated plainly (after I pushed, repeating the question until I received an actual answer) that they feel that they made a mistake, and I'm going to have to pay for the 10 years of interest for it. I am going to court over this, but have been having a difficult time getting an attorney I can afford. I'm not poor, but I don't have $3000 - $4000 for a retainer, either. Since the court minutes were purged about 3 years ago, I can't just bring those to show what the judge stated, so I need to know when a court order could possible be active. Since I wasn't served papers, and didn't have to address the issue at the first hearing, is there any legal way the court order, which was issued in November, could be retro-active to the May hearing, which was unrelated?

    I have several pieces of documentation from the CSE office stating that I don't owe any such debt, one of which specifically admits their mistake in trying to do this exact same thing before. Even so, they have stated that they've shown it to their attorneys and have been told they can do this. I really need help on this matter.

    I've posted to some other threads at this forum for other questions related to this issue, so I won't go into great detail here. I'll only say that I feel their behavior approaches outright fraud. They placed the charge on my account without any notification, in contradication to my documentation on the matter, and refused to respond to my written and verbal requests for an explanation for over 6 months. It took over 5 months just to get my first return phone call, and that was only because the Clerk of the Court gave me their direct line, and I left multiple messages on the supervisor's voice mail. It took getting the Attorney General's office involved to force them to explain the charge. In our previous phone conversation, my case worker tried to say she wasn't sure where the charge had come from. How could a charge of nearly $7000.00 be applied to my account without understanding where it had come from?

    In total, I've sent 12 faxes along with the supporting documentation, spent many hours on the phone with their customer service, and then more on the phone with the AttorneyGeneral/Assistant Director's office. I had to drive over 300 miles round trip to get copies of court orders, and this required time off work. With all of that effort, it took 6 months and 16 days just to get them to admit what they'd done. My point is that if it happened to me, it could happen to anyone else as well. I am a proud father and pay for the support of my kids. I'm not trying to get out of my legitimate debt. I'm trying to contest them grabbing extra money where they can find it. They stated that this wasn't in response to the bad economy and lack of state funds, but refused to answer my next question: "Why, then, was this 'reinterpreted' after nearly 10 years, then?"
    Last edited by Ironwil; 10-02-2009, 10:54 AM.

  • #2
    I'm sorry, but you REALLY need an attorney. I know it can be expensive, but if it will save any at all, you should at least get a consult with one right away.


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