Arizona Child Support Guidelines 2022
Understanding Arizona’s New Child Support Rules
Our experienced Arizona Family Attorneys take a look at the Arizona Child Support Guidelines for 2022. Additionally, we look at the various new rules and changes in rules. Some changes are incidental and minor, however, there are a few things in the guidelines that it is important to know if you are paying or receiving child support in Arizona.
One of the most complicated things about family law is that it is constantly changing. Not only do family laws vary from state to state, but they can also change with each passing year. And while Arizona has always been a pioneer by not participating in Daylight Savings Time, our family laws occasionally change just like other states. Arizona has come out with new child support guidelines for 2022, with the most interesting changes being seen in childcare costs and tax exemptions. Read on to learn more about Arizona’s 2022 Child Support Guidelines. For your free case evaluation with one of our Arizona family lawyers, call 480-833-8000.
Arizona Child Support Basics- Income Based Model
Arizona calculates child support using an income based model. As the name suggests, it takes both parents’ incomes into account to determine if and how much child support should be paid. The logic is that each parent should pay the same amount of financial support as if the family were still living together, which may then be apportioned depending on how much time the child spends with each parent.
Child support calculations are actually usually done by a computer. However, certain factors may be considered depending on your family’s unique needs. For example, child support could be higher if the child has special medical expenses from a medical condition. Or, child support may need to be reduced if a parent is incarcerated or becomes disabled.
What Counts As Income For Child Support Purposes?
When both parents work at salaried positions, it can be pretty simple to determine their respective incomes. But when one or both parents have variable income, rely largely on tips, receive monthly support from a family member or new partner, etc., it can affect what the court views as monthly income. Income from rental properties and business interests must be included for child support purposes as well. Even income like disability benefits and worker’s compensation must be included for a parent’s child support obligations. Even certain work benefits will be assigned a cash value to use for child support calculations.
Surprisingly, income from overtime work is often exempted by the family court for child support purposes. The courts want parents to have the option to work overtime at their jobs without worry about increasing child support. If the parent used to work overtime when the family was a singular unit, the parent is not obligated to continue working similar overtime hours after a custody division. This is to ensure that the parent will still have enough time to have a meaningful relationship with the child after splitting households.
Deductions For Children From Other Relationships
It isn’t uncommon for our clients to pay (or receive) child support for two or more children from separate relationships. Arizona’s Family Courts recognize that all of a parent’s children must be considered when calculating child support, as one child’s financial support can’t come at the detriment of another’s. If a parent is already paying child support for a child from another relationship, this amount will be deducted from that parent’s income for calculating their child support obligation for their other child. This deduction can be substantial if this parent is the only one financially supporting this child. However, receiving child support will not count as income for the purposes of calculating another child’s support.
Financial Support As a Child Gets Older
In Arizona, family law judges realize that a child’s need for financial support can change over time. In general, it is expected that expenses for a child will increase as they grow older. In Arizona, a child’s support can be increased by 10% the day they turn 12 years old. If the parent is paying support to one more than one child from the same relationship, the 10% increase will be prorated for each child that has reached their 12 birthday.
It usually makes sense for the children to only be on one parent’s health insurance policy. This will usually be the parent assigned more parenting time, if applicable. If so, that should be acknowledged in child support calculations. The child support order will indicate which parent will insure and be credited for the child’s healthcare. The amount that parent pays each month in health insurance will be prorated for the children who which support are paid. Whatever the parent pays in medical insurance can be credited as part of their child support obligation. That parent will still be credited if the insurance obligation is paid by someone else, such as a new spouse.
Arizona’s childcare guidelines allow parents to add childcare expenses to their basic child support obligation. The person receiving the child support expenses cannot be a dependent- for example, one parent can’t claim their new stay-at-home spouse as a dependent but reimburse them for childcare expenses during their parenting time with the child. The childcare services must be appropriate considering the family’s financial situation- for example, one parent shouldn’t hire a private nanny versus a public daycare provider if both parents make less than the state median income.
Arizona Child Support Tax Exemption Guidelines
A major issue for parents who split custody of one or more children is who will claim them for tax exemption purposes. Sometimes, one parent will consistently claim them, or the parents might switch off years of claiming them. However, Arizona’s 2022 child support guidelines don’t allow a parent who is failing to pay child support to take advantage of the tax benefits for raising their children. The court can take away a parent’s right to parental tax benefits if the other parent can show a history of consistent failure to pay support. The amount the parent is entitled to will be deducted proportionately for the amount of child support they failed to pay.
Child support is an important matter in Arizona, and it’s highly important that you make your monthly payments in a timely manner. Once child support is owed, there is nothing you can do about it. Child support arrearages can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Failure to pay your child support could result in a wage garnishment, that will automatically deduct a portion of each of your paychecks and pay your monthly support and arrearages. If you have a child from another relationship or another dependent, 50% is the most your paychecks can be garnished. If you have no other dependents, this goes up to 60%. An additional 5% can be tacked on if you fall more than 12 weeks behind on your child support payments.
In some instances, a parent may be credited for travel expenses up to 100 miles for parenting time. The court will consider the parent’s conduct in making that travel necessary when deciding whether or not they should be credited.
Unless otherwise ordered by the court, one parent cannot fulfill their child support obligations with gifts in lieu of cash, such as clothing, toys, and school supplies.
A third party who is given custody of the child in question is entitled to receive financial support from both parents, unless one or both have signed away their parental rights.
More information about Arizona’s 2022 Child Support Guidelines can be found at Azcourts.gov – Arizona Child Support Guidelines.
Contact Arizona Child Support & Custody Lawyers
When you’re facing a custody and child support issue, it’s always best to proceed with the advice and representation of an experienced family law attorney. Our dedicated Phoenix family law team offers the legal advocacy you need at prices you can afford. To learn more, call or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of our Arizona family lawyers.