Home » The Valley Law Group Family Law Firm Practice Areas » AZ Child Support Law » Establishing Child Support in Arizona – Child Support Lawyers in AZ
Nothing is more important than providing for and protecting your child, whether or not you and your spouse are together. That’s why it’s important to establish child support that ensures your child has everything they need to grow and thrive.
Child support can be fraught with conflict and difficulty because it is closely tied to parenting time and custody issues. However, at its core, it’s a simple calculation that doesn’t have much wiggle room based on the parents’ incomes and the time children spend in each household. This amount is determined by the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which the Supreme Court of Arizona reviews every four years to ensure that it meets current needs.
Arizona law dictates that children should receive support from both parents equivalent to that which they would have received if the parents resided together. As soon as it is clear that the parents will not be living under one roof and mutually providing for the child’s needs, the parents should work to establish this balance. Arizona requires child support to officially begin as soon as a separation or divorce begins, so it is crucial to contact a skilled child support attorney immediately.
In the state of Arizona, Arizona Child Support Guidelines set individual child support payment amounts. These guidelines, established by Arizona’s Supreme Court, lay out the groundwork necessary to ensure the adequate care of each child involved. The guidelines also confirm that each parent contributes a sufficient amount of their assets and income to care for their children.
In accordance with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, the Family Court uses an official Child Support Calculator to determine exactly how much each parent should pay in child support. The Child Support Calculator is a preprogrammed spreadsheet that accounts for various factors when calculating child support payments, such as pre-tax income from each parent, medical insurance for the child, the parenting schedule, and more.
Determining how much child support each parent should pay involves multiple considerations by Arizona Family Court. Understanding the factors that go into these calculations, as well as what they mean, can help you ensure that the court has established an adequate child support payment in your case.
ARS 25-320(D) lays out the criteria that must be considered in the calculation of child support payments. Criteria include:
In Arizona, child support attorneys fulfill many responsibilities when it comes to establishing a fair child support amount and ensuring the future of your family.
Some of the services a Phoenix child support attorney may offer include:
Under ARS 25-501, each parent is required to contribute to the well-being of their child. This means that if they have adequate assets and meet requirements for the other factors mentioned above, the non-custodial parent is typically required to pay child support. In particular, the named parent is required to pay the child support amount calculated as ordered by the court. These payment amounts should cover key costs associated with the upbringing of a child, such as school fees, healthcare insurance coverage, meal costs, clothing, utilities, and housing.
Typically, the parent who spends more time with the child, based on the parenting plan, will receive child support from the other parent to account for the rest of the child’s expenses. It’s important to keep in mind that if one spouse makes significantly more money, they will typically be expected to pay more child support, regardless of the parenting time arrangement.
Parents are required by law to pay child support payments to the receiving parent. If they are behind on payments or paying below the required amount, contact a child support lawyer. Once payments are overdue by at least 30 days, an attorney can help you draft a petition for contempt to enforce payments.
The court can enforce jail time or may impose a number of penalties designed to induce payment, including:
Each state court typically assumes the decisions of other state courts are valid and optimal. For that reason, if a parent decides to move to another state, but Arizona courts ruled that they must pay a certain amount of child support monthly, they will still be obligated to do so from the other state. It is illegal to try to escape child support payments by moving to another state. In the state of Arizona, individuals charged with trying to evade paying child support face a maximum of two years in jail.
If your child’s other parent moves to a state outside of Arizona and they need to update child support payment amounts due to changing financial circumstances, they must work with the original court that issued the orders in Arizona. If you have relocated with your children to a new state, the child support payment jurisdiction may change. Upon registration in the new domicile, check with your local government to see what the protocol is for updating child support. If you and the child’s other parent have both left the state that created the child support order, a child support lawyer is a crucial resource to help with complex issues related to moving and child support.
In the state of Arizona, child support payments are obligatory until the last-born child becomes 19 or finishes high school – whichever event occurs first. If you have multiple children, child support payments will decrease as each child stops qualifying.
Put another way, each child will age out of their respective child support status as they:
Some divorce orders include agreements by the spouses or the court that child support should be paid until the youngest child finishes college. In addition, in cases where a child has severe disabilities, the parent may receive child support long after that child turns 18. If you are receiving child support payments for your children in Phoenix, a dedicated child support attorney can help you determine how long payments will continue.
As mentioned, additional child support may be necessary in cases of children with disabilities. If a child is disabled as a minor to the point that they cannot complete everyday tasks on their own or earn a livelihood, the parent of that child may have a right to continued child support after the disabled child turns 18. In the state of Arizona, ARS 25-320(E) guarantees this support for parents of disabled children. If you are the parent of a disabled child and are unsure about how to ensure that you will keep receiving payments after your child turns 18, you should work with a skilled child support lawyer.
The following are some of the most common questions we receive regarding child support in Arizona.
Having the feeling that your child is facing the threat of losing financial protection can be devastating and frightening. Fortunately, the skilled attorneys at The Valley Law Group can help you establish and keep the child support you need to ensure that your child has a safe and enriched upbringing. Our team has years of experience fighting tirelessly for parents like you in the Phoenix area.
Reach out to The Valley Law Group today to request a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.
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