How Child Support is Calculated in Arizona
What is Child Support?
Child support is the monthly payment you make to the parent of your child for expenses related to your child’s care. The monthly amount can be agreed upon informally or ordered by the court. If the child support is court-ordered, the consequences of not paying are serious. Unpaid child support accrues interest, and your wages may be garnished if you consistently fail to make payments. Arizona Family law judgeshave guidelines to follow when determining child support in Arizona.
Child Support Factors
The family law judge will first look at a number of case-specific factors to determine the presumptive support payment. If good cause exists, the judge may order an amount higher or lower than the presumptive child support payment. This is so one parent can’t cede custody in an attempt to avoid paying child support, leaving the child with inadequate financial support.
The first factor the judge will consider is how much custody/parenting time each parent has. Twelve hours or more of parenting time counts as one day. Any amount between 6-11 hours is considered half a day. Time periods between 3-5 hours count as one quarter of a day. Any parenting time in shorter periods than that is not considered for child support purposes.
Medical Expenses: If the child has any extraordinary expenses and medical expenses, those will be factored into the payment. If the parents have children from other relationships, whether they are receiving support for those children affects child support calculations.
Child Care Expense: Child care is an expense considered in the calculations, along with each parent’s income. The court also acknowledges that expenses increase as the child grows older.
Earning Capacity: If one of the parents is unemployed, the judge may consider that parent’s earning capacity. Child support guidelines only go up to $20,000 combined monthly income for the two parents. If one parent wants additional support beyond that maximum, they will have to prove to the court why it is needed.
How Long Does Child Support Last?
Child support in Arizona will continue until the child turns 18 and has graduated high school, or until the child turns 19. Child support can be modified, but the parent will have to prove there is a “substantial and continuing change” to warrant a modification. Child support can’t be retroactively modified- once you owe it, you owe it.
Whether you are requesting child support for the first time, or you need to modify an existing child support order, our Arizona Child Support Lawyers can help. Our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys can guide you through Arizona’s complicated family law system and get you the best results possible. Plus, we offer no obligation, free Family Law consultations, either in office or by phone consultations. thus, you can discuss your options risk-free and confidentially.