Child Support

Collaborative Law Divorce Model in Phoenix, Arizona

If you live in the State of Arizona and have children, you have a legal obligation to pay child support for the sake of your children.  In fact, the responsibility of adequately providing for your children takes priority over all other financial obligations you may have.  The importance of this obligation is highlighted when two parents decide to get divorced.

 

In an attempt to determine just how much support a child needs, Arizona law has adopted a set of guidelines that considers a variety of different factors and provides a consistent, predictable formula for 

determining each parent’s individual obligation.  The benefit to having a formula such as the Arizona Child Support Guidelines is that they help eliminate some of the uncertainty that often comes along with divorce proceedings.  And, although the law allows the Court to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines, a significant deviation is a rarity.

What the Court Will Consider in Deciding Child Support

When making a determination of child support, the Court will consider the following factors as mandated by the Arizona Child Support Guidelines:

 

  • The gross monthly income of each parent;
  • The number and age of all minor children common to the parties;
  • Whether either parent is paying or receiving an award of spousal support;
  • The number of other non-common minor children that each party may be supporting;
  • Which parent is providing insurance for the children;
  • What the cost of that insurance is;
  • What, if any, childcare costs are there;
  • Who is paying for the childcare;
  • Whether there are any extra educational care costs for the children; and
  • The amount of parenting time each parent has with the children during the year.

Once all of these factors are accurately accounted for, the Guidelines will mandate a support obligation that allows for the children to be properly supported without impoverishing either parent.  You should remember, however, the guidelines do not account for your personal expenses.  What this means in practicality is that the judge will not care if you or the other parent is living above your (or her) means when issuing an award of child support.

 

Under certain limited circumstances, attorneys for the State of Arizona become involved in child support cases.  Although any party to a child support lawsuit can request the assistance of the State’s attorneys, an Attorney General (on behalf of the state) most often becomes involved when one of the parties has in the past or continues to collect public assistance related to the support of the children.

This public assistance could come in the form of food stamps, WIC participation, and/or ACCCHS participation.  In cases where one of the parties is receiving public assistance, the State wants to ensure that the other party is doing his or her part to support the child or children.  It is often the case that not only does the attorney for State advocate for the receipt of child support, but that attorney will also try to ensure that the State and citizens of Arizona are reimbursed (for whatever public benefits had been collected) by the person entitled to child support from the other person.

 

To ensure that our clients receive the most fair and reasonable child support awards, we carefully investigate and review all documentation relevant to a couple’s finances.  As many people know, an individual’s financial circumstances are constantly changing and often difficult to predict.  To make sure that you are either receiving or paying the appropriate amount of child support each month, contact one of our attorneys at 602-230-2333 to schedule a consultation.

Click Here to Connect!