Custodial and noncustodial parents must reasonably support their minor children in Arizona. Neither parent can avoid this requirement. Often child support is awarded in connection with a divorce. If you are concerned about financial obligations ordered by the court, you should discuss the matter with a seasoned Phoenix child support attorney. Angela Duhon may be able to counsel and represent you.Child Support
The court gives priority to a parent’s child support obligations over other financial obligations. Under A.R.S. section 25-501(A), the court can order that either or both parents must pay an amount necessary and reasonable to support their child, without regard to whether there was any marital misconduct.
When parents have lived apart before filing for divorce or separation and child support hasn’t already been ordered, the court is allowed to order support retroactively to a date of separation. However, our Phoenix attorney can’t ask the court to order child support for more than 3 years before the date of filing for divorce. The court is required to evaluate all relevant circumstances. These include the conduct and motivation of the parties with regard to filing and diligence over service of process. Any temporary or voluntary support that was paid will be considered in determining the amount to be ordered.Calculation of Child Support
The court doesn’t have unlimited judicial discretion about the amount a parent should pay. Rather, the Arizona Child Support Guidelines are used to calculate support. The Guidelines are being updated for 2022. Generally, the Guidelines try to estimate what parents would spend on a child if the parents had stayed together. The goal is to avoid a child missing out financially or receiving inconsistent support due to the divorce.
The amount of child support that is supposed to be calculated under the Guidelines is considered basic. It uses the number of children along with the parents’ total monthly gross income. Under the “Income Share Model,” both parents’ income is considered. The Guidelines specify almost any form of income that can be earned, including wages, bonuses, salaries, dividends, severance pay, and workers’ compensation or Social Security benefits will count for purposes of calculating child support.
When parents’ combined adjusted gross income reaches $20,000 each month, basic child support is typically capped. With the 2022 updates to the Guidelines, however, the $20,000 limit will be increased to $30,000. To the basic obligation, the court will add medical insurance, childcare costs, and other insurance costs. The cost is usually shared, though the obligation to provide health insurance is usually assigned to one parent.
The calculation can be especially complicated under certain conditions. It can be difficult to calculate, for instance, when an individual is self-employed or owns a business. The court will look at the business’s gross receipts and subtract ordinary needed expenses that must be paid in order to earn money. Sometimes a spouse who is self-employed needs to prepay child support that constitutes about six months of support.
There is a presumption that the child support amount specified in the Guidelines is the amount the judge should order. However, when certain criteria exist and the Guideline amount is inappropriate or unjust, however, our Phoenix lawyer can ask the judge to deviate from the guideline amount for child support. Criteria for deviating from the guidelines that must be balanced with regard to child support include:
- The child’s needs and financial resources.
- Each custodial parent’s needs and financial resources
- The child’s standard of living had the child remained living in a home with both parents considering the extent to which it’s feasible to preserve that.
- Emotional and physical condition of a child and his or her schooling needs.
- A noncustodial parent’s financial resources and needs.
- The child’s medical support plan.
- Duration of parenting time and related expenses.
- Excessive or abnormal expenditures and concealment.
Under certain circumstances, child support will need to be paid even after a child becomes an adult, such as when she has a disability that renders her unable to take care of herself.Retain a Phoenix Child Support Lawyer
Both parents need to be aware that child support payments are not made for the benefit of the parent who receives them. They are, instead, owed to the child for his or her support. Parents may disagree about the amount of child support owed under the circumstances. If you are concerned about your obligations or your partner’s obligations to your child after separation or divorce, you should hire an experienced Phoenix child support attorney. Call Ms. Duhon at (602) 699-4949 or via our online form.