Many people think that child support in Arizona is a simple topic, as Arizona uses “Guidelines” that are essentially a computer calculator. In reality, the issue of child support, and the complexities therein can mean a difference in tens of thousands of dollars, or more, during the life of a child. Issues such as medical costs, private school, daycare, insurance, and others can increase the complexity, such that a competent attorney is recommended. When you meet with Rose Law Group pc Family Law Attorneys, we will provide you with an estimate of what to expect to pay or be paid each month for child support.
Many factors go into the child support equation, including:
- Each parent’s gross monthly earnings
- The number of children
- Any other natural or adopted children of either parent
- Child care expenses
- Medical insurance premiums
- Parenting Time days.
- Private School
- Extra Educational expenses (tutoring)
- Special needs expenses
Our Rose Law Group pc Family Law Attorneys can help you file to establish child support, modify the amount of child support ordered, and to terminate child support if a child has emancipated. Child support does not automatically change if one of your children emancipates, and many parties end up with significant arrears due to this belief.
We will explain in detail what factors must be met in order to modify or establishing an existing child support order. These factors can include increases or decreases in incomes, the elimination of child care expenses or an increase or decrease in parenting time days, to name a few.
Child Support Deviations
In some cases, the Court will deviate above or below the amount calculated by the Guidelines. These cases can involve high incomes, extravagant lifestyles, or extra needs of the children. These are more complicated than simple Guideline calculations and our attorneys can ensure your children receive the support they are entitled to.
Child Support Frequently Asked Questions
What is child support?
Child support is a court-ordered payment made to the parent retaining legal decision-making from the parent not retaining legal decision-making. These individuals are known respectively as the custodial parent and non-custodial parent. Legal decision-making was formerly known as child custody.
The payment is intended to help the custodial parent pay for the child’s basic living expenses such as food, clothing, medical care and education, but also fund activities that promote the child’s emotional wellbeing, such as summer camps and vacations. The court may order the non-custodial parent to occasionally pay additional child support, beyond the regular payments, to cover these additional expenses.
How is the amount of child support determined?
Arizona courts follow federal guidelines, known as the Income Shares Model, for determining the amount of child support owed. The guidelines consider how much money the parents would have spent on the child if they lived together. The courts then take that figure and calculate each parent’s fair share.
Factors the court considers in determining the level of child support include each parent’s gross income, the amount of money each needs to maintain a household, the lifestyle the child would have lived if the parents had stayed together and extenuating circumstances, such as the child’s health or special needs.
How does the child support process work?
Our Family Law attorney will file a formal request for the court to consider a child support case and make determinations. If the parents of the child in question are not married, the father must first take a paternity test to confirm his responsibility for the child.
After receiving the order, the court will decide the amount of child support owed and define the frequency of payments. The court will detail these terms, along with which parent must pay, in an official document.
When the court decides the terms of child support, our family lawyer can also request an Order of Assignment. This order directs the payor’s employer to withhold child support from the payor’s paycheck and send it to the state-run Support Payment Clearinghouse for distribution to the custodial parent.
The clearinghouse serves as an impartial third party, and tracks all payments so that the records may solve any disputes.
The legal decision-making custodial parent can collect the payments by either setting up a direct deposit with the clearinghouse or electing to receive a special card that functions as a credit or debit card.
What happens if you or the other parent doesn’t pay child support?
If the non-legal decision-making/non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, our Scottsdale family law attorney can help collect the money owed. Arizona law considers failure to pay child support a felony.
Punishments for failing to pay child support in the metro Phoenix area and Arizona vary, but can include jail time, liens on the offender’s house or car, suspended driver’s licenses, or seized tax returns or bank accounts.
How can a family law attorney help you?
Rose Law Group pc Family Law Attorneys are here to help you file the necessary paperwork and offer legal advice regarding the best way to approach your particular family law situation.
Whether you need help asking for child support or requesting changes to an existing arrangement, our knowledgeable family law attorneys can help. Contact Rose Law Group pc today to schedule an appointment or for more information regarding Arizona family law.
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