Arizona Child Support Lawyers
Child Support Attorneys in Arizona
Child support is a periodic payment made to a custodial parent from a non-custodial parent to help compensate a child’s living expenses; i.e., food, clothes, etc., and any other related debts. When one parent is awarded sole custody, as in the event of a divorce, the non-custodial parent is required to fulfill his or her child support obligation by making set payments. Whereas the custodial parent meets his or her support obligation through the custody itself. When parents are awarded joint custody in a divorce, however, the support obligation is shared. And is based on a ratio of each parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
Either you or the other parent may be required to pay support to your children.
The purpose of child support is to meet the reasonable needs of the child, and try to, as much as is possible, keep him or her in the same position he or she would have been had the marriage not dissolved. We are also available to assist in circumstances:
- where a child support obligation is not being paid
- to work with the other party to get back payments
- to reduce or increase child support where financial circumstances have changed dramatically.
ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT FAQs
Child support is a monthly payment by one parent to usually the custodial parent for the care and maintenance of their shared child. As in divorce and custody issues, decisions regarding child support must be made in the best interests of the child.
Almost all income is included in child support calculations. This can be wages, interest and dividends on stocks and other investments, pensions, capital gains, veterans’ benefits, lottery winnings, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, and annuities.
· If the father was married to the mother during 10 months before the child was born, paternity will be assumed.
· If the parents were unmarried, they can both sign the birth certificate to establish paternity.
· If the father fails to sign the birth certificate, both parents may sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
If the father is denying paternity of the child, the mother can request genetic testing through the court. If the test comes back with 95% or more probability that he is the father, the court will deem him such and require child support, allow visitation, etc.
Child support is only presumed to be terminated at 18, instead of automatically stopped. Support may continue until the child graduates high school or turns 19, whichever comes first. The parent paying support will need to petition the court to modify the support once any of those requirements are met.
The court will look at a number of factors when determining the amount to pay. If one parent shoulders the bill for health insurance and daycare, this will be factored into their child support payments. Children over 12 are deemed to have more expenses. Some children, such as those with chronic illnesses, have extraordinary expenses that must be taken into account. If a parent lives out of state and transportation is required for visitation, this may also play a part in child support calculations. Child support can also be affected by which parent is claiming the child on their tax returns and the amount of parenting time each parent has.
You can request a child support modification every three years if you don’t have significant cause for a modification. If there is a “substantial and continued” change in your circumstances, you can request a modification once per year. You will have to file a petition that will be served on the other parent, and you will both attend court again. The judge will determine if the amount you are currently paying is appropriate, or if it should be reduced or increased.
To lower child support payments, you will need to proceed with a modification as described above. Be careful when requesting a modification, because you may end up paying more support. You also will be barred from requesting a modification again for at least one year, so you could be locked into one year of payments you can’t afford if you are fired from your job or experience a similar decrease in income. Past-due child supports can’t be lowered.
Modifying Child Support and Parenting Time:
The obligation to support minor children cannot be waived by either parent and is a right enjoyed by the child, not the parent. The State of Arizona has guidelines that factor the amount of support, such as the amount of time spent with the child, the income of both parents, and the standard of living the child is accustomed to. An Arizona Family Law Court may allow deduction items such as catastrophic medical expenses and travel expenses for visitation.