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CHILD SUPPORT

Attorneys for Child Support in Arizona

Child Support creates several issues for people in Arizona going through divorce or having issues with a person that they share a child.  Parents in Arizona share the responsibility for providing financial for their children. In the case of a divorce involving children, many issues arise regarding the division of care, custody, and funds.

Support paid by one party provides children with the financial support needed for education, basic costs, and healthcare. Many parents going through divorce have concerns about how much support they will pay or receive, plus, how the support is enforced.

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ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT

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 judges have 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.

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How Child Support is Calculated in Arizona

Parenting Time: 

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.

MY ARIZONA LAWYERS CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEY

Child Support Attorney in Arizona

Always Gaining Knowledge and Working as a Team

We believe on staying up on the ever changing rules in Arizona Family Law.  Our experienced family law lawyers attend numerous divorce, custody, and family law conferences to keep the knowledge fresh.  Thus, each year, in order to maximize our lawyers’ expertise regarding complex family law issues, we continue to educate ourselves. Additionally, our custody lawyers collaborate as they meet regularly to discuss cases.  We provide a team approach to handling our family law and child custody cases.

Support payments enforcement in Arizona

Child support is not optional. When the Arizona court hands down a child support order, payments must be mad in full and on time throughout the duration of that order. In the case where child support payments are not paid, there are means of enforcing the law, including wage garnishment, seizure of assets, property liens, or license suspension. Some cases must pursue criminal charges if a parent fails to make child support payments.

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Our clients are both custodial and noncustodial parents. Support for children has an impact on the lives of families in Arizona. The law and child support obligations can be complex, and are best dealt with when My AZ Lawyers takes over the legal representation. Our experienced family law legal team will communicate everything and anything you need to know regarding child support. Often times divorce is ugly. Communication breaks down and the future of your family is at risk. We know the legal process, and we know how to successfully represent divorce and child custody cases to serve the best interests of our clients.

CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA

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How Arizona Courts Calculate Child Support

An Arizona family law court takes into consideration several factors to determine the amount of child support to award in a divorce:

  • Primary parenting time and how much time each parent is spending with the child including expenses related to this time
  • The age of the children.
  • Each parent’s income.
  • The standard of living a child would have had if not for the separation/divorce.
  • Costs of heath care and dental insurance.
  • Special needs of any children.

Often, the court uses state guidelines to determine and award support. The Arizona family court does have discretion, however, to deviate. In some divorce cases, the court considers legal factors and standards of living.

Arizona Child Support Services

How long will a support of a child obligation last? In Arizona, support payments are made until the child is 18. If the child does not complete school by age 18, child support continues until he/she graduates from high school or turns 19, which ever comes first.

Payments for support are received, recorded, and processed by the Support Payment Clearinghouse. For additional information, or to connect with Arizona child support services, visit the Arizona Department of Economic Security website.

Arizona Modifications Of Support

If either parent’s income or other circumstances change after the initial child support judgement, an attorney needs to file a modification proceeding. Contact My AZ Lawyers to consult with an attorney experienced in Arizona support cases involving children.  A lawyer will review your modifications, or appropriate changes to the ordered support. In order to reduce or change the amount of support, a parent needs a court order. Regardless if both parents agree to reduce child support payment, a formal court order should confirm these wishes.

ARIZONA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS

My AZ Lawyers Family Law Attorneys And Legal Team

My AZ Lawyers will answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding child support, parenting time, visitation rights, or modifications. We help our clients understand better the legal process.  We explain how the law affects specific situations and provide options. In order to proceed and make the best decisions for your family, it is important to learn what to expect and it is crucial that you have expert legal representation.  Keep in mind, a divorce that involves children can be a complicated case.  Therefore, clients in Arizona call our law firm because we offer dedicated legal services.  Plus, our staff is understanding, yet aggressive in pursuit of the best possible outcome for each case.

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Free Initial Consultation With An Experienced Family Law Support Attorney

Therefore, when you consult with an attorney at My AZ Lawyers, we can discuss an approximate amount we estimate that you are entitled to receive for child support, or what you may have to pay.  Plus, our experienced support lawyers know the Arizona laws and standards regarding support payments.

Child support is based upon written guidelines and Arizona laws. Therefore, the amount a court will award depends on childcare costs, each parents income, cost for dental and medical insurance, daycare costs, how old the children are, or special needs of the children. Find more general information on  Arizona Child Support Guidelines web page.

Child Support And College Tuition

Parents who wish to negotiate the responsibility of college expenses after a divorce is not uncommon. As part of a final divorce agreement, this issue may be agreed upon with the help of an attorney. The jurisdiction of the Arizona Court regarding financial obligation ends when a child is an adult (18 years old). The court, therefore, does not award support for a parent for college financial payment.

A couple may enter into an agreement, or a contract for support for college expenses.  However, it is not part of the child custody law (Title 25). Arizona law does recognize financial obligation for a child over the age of 18 attending college. A legal contract may be developed to address this.  However, the language needs to be specific to ensure that both parents are in a agreement as to the details of the agreed expense of college.

If the goal is to make sure that the child’s college is paid, an option may be to take a portion of the marital assets and put them aside for college expenses. Again, this trust needs to be legally sound and carefully drafted by an attorney. My Arizona Lawyers team can handle the family law and trust law issue that arises when parents wish to confront the importance of paying for college expenses/ support in a divorce.

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ARIZONA CUSTODY LAWYERS

Our Arizona Custody Attorneys Can Help

If both spouses determine that planning for a child’s college tuition is a priority when discussing divorce and support of the children, it is best to consult a lawyer in order to legally secure this agreement.  An attorney can help make sure that the wishes of both spouses are best met.  Plus, they do the best to assure that the tuition is addressed.

Possibly, parents have already started saving for a college fund. If a parent has invested or started a savings account to benefit a child’s college education, these must be addressed in the divorce decree. Especially in a 529 plan, the goal of this asset must be clearly defined to ensure the money is available for college.

Again, so many issues arise with a divorce involving children. Clients have so many questions about which expenses get paid in support payments. Only our experienced family law, divorce, and child payments lawyers can navigate the legal process to make sure there are few or no problems in the future.

ARIZONA child support guidelines

arizona child support attorneys

In Arizona, there are guidelines regarding child support.  Several issues are taken into account when creating these guidelines.  The state of Arizona factors in various criteria related to the number of people in the household, the income of the family, healthcare costs, daycare, and education.  Additionally, these guidelines take into account the parenting plan and time spent with the child/children.  Our experienced Arizona Child Support Lawyers are able to assist you with these rules and regulations set forth by the state of Arizona.

A compilation of these factors are often what is used by the courts to calculate a suggested amount of awarded child support.  A great tool of reference when our AZ Child Support Attorneys fight for your child support is The Arizona Child Support Calculator.  Please keep in mind that just because it is on the support calculator, the courts can still choose to increase or decrease the final amount of child support if a case is proven for deviation.

EXPERIENCED CHILD SUPPORT LAWYER IN PHOENIX

Contact a Skilled Child Support Lawyer in Phoenix

Often, Arizona Child Support cases may appear to be pretty straight forward and easy to navigate.  There are important variables within the Arizona child support statute that need to be correctly addressed.  These variables will ultimately factor in to the amount of child support that is awarded.  Whereas, our skilled Phoenix Child Support Lawyers and Tucson Family Law Attorneys are going to be a great asset for you while navigating a child support case in Arizona.

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The importance of having an experienced Maricopa County Child Support Attorney who understands the importance of application of the statutes is paramount.  Our attorneys and staff work with you as the parent for the best interest of your children.  Therefore, if you are seeking highly successful child support lawyers in Arizona, do not hesitate to discuss your needs.

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    CHILD SUPPORT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    FAQs REGARDING CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA With My AZ Lawyers

    Get answers to Questions Regarding Child Support in Arizona from our experienced Arizona family attorneys.

    ANSWER:

    This ensures that payments will be made in a standard amount each month, and in a timely manner. It gives the custodial parent more methods of recourse if the other parent fails to pay support. Going through the court also ensures that the parents have an accurate view of the other’s financial situation so that support payments can be as fair as possible.

    ANSWER:

    You will need to go through the process of establishing paternity to legally prove that you’re not the father. You will need to submit a DNA sample for testing at a laboratory. Paternity will only be established (and you will only need to pay child support) if the DNA is a match of greater than 95%.

    ANSWER:

    You can refer to Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines for an idea of how much support you should be paying. Each parent should be paying a proportionate share of the child’s expenses as if they were still together. Other factors can cause the amount of support paid to deviate from state guidelines. If you think your support payments are unfair, you should consult with an attorney to see if a modification would be appropriate.

    ANSWER:

    The amount of time the child spends with each parent will be one of the factors used to calculate child support. If the parents truly split custody 50/50, the parent who has higher income will likely have to pay the other parent at least a small amount of child support.

    ANSWER:

    Once a parent begins to regularly fail to make child support payments, the Department of Child Support Enforcement, or the DCSE, will likely place a garnishment on that parent’s wages. DCES may garnish up to 50% of a parent’s paycheck, and that amount increases to 60% if that parent has no other minor children or legal dependents. An additional 5% is added if the parent is more than 12 weeks behind on child support.

    Wage garnishments aren’t the only recourse against a parent who is behind on child support. That parent’s driver’s or occupational license may be suspended until they are caught up on child support, or a lien may be placed on their property. That parent’s tax returns, lottery winnings, and stimulus checks may be intercepted and given to the custodial parent.

    ANSWER:

    The parent who is incarcerated should request a child support modification. The judge may find that a reduction or suspension in support payments is appropriate, or have the parent pay their support out of their savings and assets. The judge may also choose to leave the support payments the same, so that the parent has arrearages to pay off when they are released from prison.

    ANSWER:

    If you lose your job, your best course of action is to immediately petition the court for a child support modification. Since income is one of the factors when determining child support, and the change is likely to be substantial and continuing, the court may reduce or pause your payments until you find new employment. You should do this as soon as possible because you will keep accruing child support debt at your current monthly amount until it is modified, and your arrearages can’t be retroactively modified.

    ANSWER:

    If you lose your job, your best course of action is to immediately petition the court for a child support modification. Since income is one of the factors when determining child support, and the change is likely to be substantial and continuing, the court may reduce or pause your payments until you find new employment. You should do this as soon as possible because you will keep accruing child support debt at your current monthly amount until it is modified, and your arrearages can’t be retroactively modified.

    ANSWER:

    Once the judge calculates the basic child support amount, they have the option to reduce or increase child support payments. Even if the parents agree to their child support payments, the judge can choose to increase or reduce the amount. The judge has this authority because in the past, one parent might give up all custody rights in exchange for not paying child support. Although one parent would get their desired custody order, the child would often end up with insufficient means for an adequate lifestyle. The judge has an obligation to also look out for the needs of the child. The judge will review each case’s circumstances to decide whether the calculated child support amount should be adjusted.

    ANSWER:

    Yes, the court will not hesitate to enforce a child support order. Your ex’s past-due child support balance is referred to as “arrearages” and your ex is “in arrears.” Your ex can be charged interest on their arrearages. The court can find a parent in contempt of court for failure to pay child support, which can result in a jail sentence. However, the court will typically use less drastic means before resorting to the threat of jail time.

    ANSWER:

    The court will look at more than just the income and parenting time of each parent to determine child support. The court may consider whether each parent has other dependents, special needs and expenses of the child (e.g., medical conditions), the age of the child, the standard of living in each parent’s home, and the child’s educational needs. The court will weigh these factors when deciding how much to award within income-based guidelines.

    ANSWER:

    The court will look at more than just the income and parenting time of each parent to determine child support. The court may consider whether each parent has other dependents, special needs and expenses of the child (e.g., medical conditions), the age of the child, the standard of living in each parent’s home, and the child’s educational needs. The court will weigh these factors when deciding how much to award within income-based guidelines.

    ANSWER:

    Unless the parents truly have the exact same income and spend the exact same amount of time with the child, there will usually need to be some amount of child support in place.

    ANSWER:

    Child support is paid until the child turns 18 and graduates from high school. Support terminates at 19 if the child is still in high school.

    ANSWER:

    The custodial parent receives child support in most situations. The custodial parent may not receive child support, or even be ordered to pay support if their income is vastly higher than the other parent’s.

    ANSWER:

    The other parent may simply agree to a child support payment that you find reasonable. If that is the case, you might not need an attorney for child support purposes. However, most parents disagree on how much child support is necessary. You may also need to request support retroactively, which you can do for up to 3 prior years in Arizona. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is the best way you can ensure the financial support your child needs and deserves. Your attorney will make sure the other parent doesn’t hide assets or play games in court to avoid their obligation to support their child. Retaining an attorney might not cost as much as you think it does. Our experienced family law attorneys offer free initial consultations, great hourly rates, and monthly payment plans that will work with your budget. Call our Arizona Family Law Team today to see what one of our attorneys can do for you and your child.

    ANSWER:

    Child support can be modified as to current and future payments, but not retroactively. If you believe your support payments are too high, you can only have them lowered going forward. To obtain a modification, you must prove that there is a “substantial and continuing change” that requires the support order to be modified. A change is not considered substantial by the courts unless it is a change of at least 15%. You must wait at least one year before modifying child support orders.

    ANSWER:

    The court will likely require the other parent to provide proof of income. Examples include pay stubs, tax returns, and W-2 forms.

    ANSWER:

    Child support guidelines only provide calculations for families whose income is up to $20,000 per month. If one parent wants support beyond that amount, they will need to prove to the court why it is needed.

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    No Matter What, Child Support Will Stop When The Child Reaches 18

    You will need to pay child support until the child graduates high school or turns 19, whichever comes first. You will need to petition the court to terminate support once one of these events occurs.

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    I Can Give Up All My Parenting Time And Legal Decision Making Authority In Order To Not Pay Child Support

    No matter what agreements exist between the parents regarding parenting time and child support, the child has the right to adequate financial support from both parents. A judge will still likely order you to pay child support even if you give up all the rights to spending time with your child. When it comes to matters of child custody and support, the best interests of the child weigh out over the parents’ wishes.

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    I Can Quit My Job To Have My Child Support Payments Lowered

    A judge will not lower your child support payments if you voluntarily quit a job. Choosing to be unemployed is not a good enough reason to grant a modification. A modification may be granted, however, if the parent is terminated.

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    Child Support Payments Must Only Be Spent On The Child.

    As long as the parent who is receiving support payments provides for the child’s safety, shelter, and overall general welfare, the court won’t be concerned with whatever else that spouse is spending money on. You can’t take the parent of your child to court to lower support payments because you have seen pictures of them going out to eat and shopping. You can request a modification if you believe the other parent is spending your support payments frivolously, but these motions are unlikely to be granted and you will be restricted from requesting another modification, even if you lose your income.

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    If Don’t Make My Child Support Payments, The Other Parent Is Just Going To Have To Wait For Me To Pay

    If you owe the other parent child support, they have many methods of attempting to collect from you. Your local child support enforcement agency may place a lien on your property or suspend your driver’s or occupational license. You can also have your tax refunds and other payments seized, along with your wages being garnished. Child support wage garnishments have a much higher maximum deduction than standard debts. Most debts can only garnish 15-25% of your wages, while child support can go up to 60%. If you are more than 12 weeks behind on your payments, an additional 5% may be added to your garnishment.

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    My Child Support Payments Are Tax Deductible

    Child support payments aren’t tax deductible for the parent who pays, and they aren’t counted as income for the parent who receives.

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    If I Don’t Collect All The Back Child Support My Ex Owes Me Before The Child Turns 18, I Am Out Of Luck

    You can file to receive support for up to 3 years prior to the date of filing. Once the support is due, there is no statute of limitations to collect. Child support is a non-dischargeable debt that will remain, probably accruing interest, until the other parent pays.

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    Child Support Payments Can’t Be Modified

    Child support payments are granted sparingly and with certain time restrictions, but support can be modified. The current order will have to have been in place for at least a year before the paying parent can request a modification. From that point, the parent can request a modification once per year. The request will only be granted if there has been a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances.” This usually means a change in income of 10% or more. Your child support order may also contain a provision to automatically increase the support amount each year for cost of living.

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    If I Move Out Of State, I Won’t Have To Pay My Child Support

    Each state’s child support enforcement agency cooperates with each other to ensure that this isn’t possible. You will keep accruing child support arrearages at the same rate if you move out of state.

    Have more questions about child support payments in Arizona? Pick up the phone and schedule a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys. Learn your rights and plan your best course of action for free. Then, if you’re ready, our firm offers affordable down payments and monthly payment plan options. You don’t have to continue with life married to a narcissist- schedule your free consultation today.

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