Arizona 2022 Child Support FAQs
The Most Asked Questions Regarding Child Support In Arizona Answered
Whether you’ve got child support orders in place, or you expect to go through a child support matter soon, you probably have several questions about the process. The laws in Arizona regarding child support may be much different than from other states, or even child support situations in Arizona from years past. Whether you’re expecting to pay or receive child support, we recommend that you retain experienced legal counsel to assist you in the matter. To schedule a free appointment with one of our Phoenix family lawyers, call 480-263-1699. We offer both in person and free consults by phone.
How Does Arizona Determine Child Support Obligations?
Arizona calculates child support obligations using an income based approach. Both parents are obligated to pay as much as they would towards the child if the household all still lived together. The court will look at the parents’ incomes to see how much support is owed per child. That will determine the child’s total monthly support obligation. Then, the court will factor in how much time the child spends with each parent. Sometimes, if the parents have similar incomes and equal parenting time, no support will be owed.
Can I Prevent My Child’s Visitation With Their Other Parents If They Have Failed To Make Their Child Support Payments?
No, you can’t prevent visitation. Child support and child custody are two separate issues, in the eyes of the law. A family law judge generally won’t take away a parent’s right to see their child for failure to pay child support, as there are separate options available as recourse for child support issues. Interference with another parent’s parenting time could be used as evidence against you in future custody proceedings. Contact your family law attorney for more information about enforcement rather than withholding visitation from your ex, unless the child’s safety would be at risk.
Can I Buy My Child Gifts & Clothes In Lieu of Making My Support Payments?
Many parents have concerns that the money they pay in child support won’t actually be used directly for their child’s care. Unfortunately, a parent who pays child support doesn’t get to police exactly how those funds are used. You’re always free to buy your child gifts like toys, clothing, and school supplies. But these gifts can’t be given instead of making your monthly child support payments.
Who Pays For The Child’s Health Insurance In Arizona?
If one parent has a favorable health insurance policy, they will usually be the one to keep the child on the insurance policy after a custody split. If the parents have similar health insurance policies, the parent who has more parenting time will usually keep the child on their policy. Whereas, if the parents have similar amounts of custody time and can’t agree who should pay insurance, it will be left up to the judge. Also, the parent who pays for the child’s health insurance will be credited for doing so in the child support orders.
Are Our Child Support Orders Set In Stone Until The Child Reaches Adulthood?
While it isn’t easy to change child support orders once they’re in place, it isn’t impossible either. This is called a child support modification. You can only pursue a child support modification once your existing orders have been in place for at least 12 months. For a judge to sign off on a child support modification, there must have been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Financially, this means about a change of 10% or more. Thus, the situation must be likely to persist for the foreseeable future.
What Can The Family Court System Do If My Ex Falls Behind On Child Support?
There are several options available besides withholding visitation when a parent falls behind on child support. The most common is putting a garnishment on the wages of the parent in arrears. This is an automatic deduction out of your ex’s paycheck that will automatically be remitted to you. The wage garnishment limits for child support are much higher than limits for other types of debts in Arizona. If your ex has dependents other than your child together, the maximum amount their wages can be garnished is 50%. If your child together is your ex’s only dependent, this increases to 60%. If your ex is more than 12 weeks behind on their child support, either maximum can be increased by 5%.
There are other methods available to collect child support besides wage garnishments. Your ex’s tax returns can be intercepted if they owe you a significant amount of child support on which they haven’t made progress. Federal payments can similarly be intercepted for child support purposes. If your ex owns property, a lien can be placed on it until child support arrearages are repaid. Your ex can also be denied a passport, and their driver’s license can be suspended or revoked.
How Long Does Child Support Last in an Arizona Child Support case?
Many people assume that child support automatically terminates at age 18, but this isn’t true. Child support can continue until age 19 if the child hasn’t yet graduated from high school. The parent paying support should file to terminate support payments when the first of those occurs.
In AZ, Does Child Support Increase as The Child Ages?
Yes, there is a presumption in Arizona that a child’s financial needs will increase as they grow older. In general, a judge will approve to increase support by about 10% when the child reaches 12 years old.
Can My Ex Still Claim Our Child On Their Taxes If They Haven’t Paid Child Support?
Arizona has implemented new tax rules in the child support guidelines for 2022. A parent who fails to pay their child support may not be entitled to some or all of the tax benefits that are included in their child support orders. Their tax refunds for the child benefit they are claiming for a year they failed to pay child support can be reduced proportionately by the amount of child support they failed to pay. A parent who won’t be able to fulfill their financial obligations to their child should consult a tax professional to consider surrendering their tax benefit to the other parent, as well as a Mesa family lawyer about a potential child support modification.
What About Child Care Costs?
The cost of child care can be of vital importance in child support matters.
I Don’t Make a Ton of Money. Can I Still Afford an Experienced Family Law Attorney?
Divorces and custody battles are notoriously expensive. Many people assume that they won’t be able to afford an attorney once they are served with family law papers. But sometimes you can find the right lawyer for your situation that will work with you financially. Additionally, our family law attorneys and paralegals understand just how important it is to find quality legal representation that doesn’t break the bank. Our family law attorneys have vast experience in divorce, child custody, and child support matters.
At AZ Family Law Lawyers, our family law services come at competitive rates, including payment plan options that will work with your budget. Get to know our team, and receive an affordable quote for legal representation, during your free consultation. Fill out our online form or call 480-263-1699 to schedule your free consultation with one of our Arizona family lawyers today.
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