Nicole and Adam are the parents of two children in Arizona who needed financial support. Adam also supports his older children who live in a different state. Nicole and Adam are divorced but spoke often and mutually agreed to handle child support payments in Arizona amongst themselves without the intervention of the DES Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). “We decided we wanted to do everything together and be amicable so it didn't cause a lot of stress,” said Nicole. However, this arrangement caused a few unforeseen challenges for them, which DCSS was able to resolve in the end.
In Arizona, the maximum amount of child support a parent could be obligated to pay is fifty percent of the parent’s disposable income. As such, the state where Adam’s older children resided was collecting much of his income for their support. Since Nicole and Adam decided not to use child support services in Arizona, the other state had no record of the amount he paid monthly for their children. The two discussed Adam’s tight financial situation. “He was in a really bad spot because [the other state] was taking out the maximum amount,” said Nicole.
Child Support Services Officer Elizabeth Cavella
Nicole wanted to help. She considered opening a case in Arizona, which could create a record of Adam’s combined payments and allow him to balance the two obligations more appropriately. That’s when she called DCSS and met Child Support Services Officer, Elizabeth Cavella. “I’ve been through the system and broken down in tears,” said Elizabeth. “It’s taxing and hard on you.” Elizabeth confirmed that opening a case would allow Adam and Nicole to meet their goals. She provided resources, listened to Nicole and her current husband, and was available to answer their questions thoroughly.
“She is a star employee and she really goes above and beyond,” said Nicole. The state where Adam’s older children resided acknowledged his new obligation in Arizona and reduced the ordered amount, which improved his financial situation. He was then able to begin consistently paying child support for his younger children in Arizona.
Now Nicole and her family receive regular payments and Adam is able to balance his financial obligations. “Elizabeth has been a godsend in helping me and my husband navigate the child support system. Her thorough knowledge and caring attitude have helped both of us numerous times,” said Nicole. “I’ve been there and I know how it feels. I use that experience to drive my work with those we serve,” said Elizabeth.
For more information about Arizona’s IV-D child support program, please visit des.az.gov/dcss.