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Arizona Child Support Laws
The Arizona State Legislature has set forth the Arizona child support laws. These child support laws in Arizona are found in Title 25 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, Chapters 25-500 to through 25-685 and 25-1201 through 25-1362 (the “Uniform Interstate Family Support Act”).
Child support is meant to help feed, clothe, and house children. The amount of child support that you might expect to pay or receive depends on several factors including your income and the needs of your child.
How Are Child Support Payments Calculated in Arizona?
Arizona Child Support Guidelines
The Arizona child support guidelines are a set of rules that help parents determine how much money they need to pay in order to support their children. The guidelines are mandatory and they provide a starting point for the court to work from when ordering child support.
The primary goal of the Arizona child support guidelines is to ensure that children receive the financial support they need in order to thrive. The guidelines take into account both parents’ income, as well as other factors such as health insurance and daycare costs.
Do the Courts Deviate From the Arizona Child Support Guidelines?
The Arizona Child Support Guidelines are just that-guidelines. The courts understand that there may be special circumstances in a family’s life which would require a deviation from the calculation. In order to request this, the petitioner must provide written details and state explicitly why they believe it is in the child’s best interest to deviate from the guidelines.
The court takes many things into account when making their decision, including written determinations that it is in the child’s best interests and necessary for the child’s health, education, or welfare to deviate from the guideline calculation. The overall well-being of the child is always of utmost importance to judges and they will carefully consider all requests for deviation.
Gross Income of Each Parent
When it comes to child support, the gross income of each parent is important to consider. This includes all sources of income, including recurring gifts and, in some cases, personal loans. It’s essential to have an accurate picture of each parent’s financial situation so that a fair child support agreement can be reached.
Once you have calculated the gross income of each parent, you need to make some adjustments. This will give you the combined adjusted gross income for both parents. From there, negotiations can begin and a child support agreement can be reached that is fair for everyone involved.
Income of a Parent’s Spouse
When it comes to child support, the income of a parent’s spouse is not taken into account. The calculation is based solely on the incomes of the parents. This ensures that children are supported financially even if their parents get divorced and the new spouse has a lower income.
Keep in mind that if your ex-spouse makes more money than you do after adjustments are made to each of your individual gross incomes, he or she will have a higher proportional percentage of responsibility for paying child support.
After making all necessary adjustments, the court will determine how much obligation each parent has for supporting their children. This decision takes into account both parents’ financial situations.
Income of Self-Employed Parents
When it comes to child support, parents who are self-employed may have more complicated cases than those who are not. This is because the courts can count business expenses that reduce personal living expenses as income. In other words, a self-employed parent’s actual income may be higher than what is shown on paper.
This can make things difficult if one does not understand their own finances or the other spouses finances. In some cases, it may be necessary to retain an accountant in order to determine a self-employed parent’s income for child support in Arizona. Doing so can help ensure that the appropriate amount of child support is ordered by the court.
Are there any other special considerations regarding child support in Arizona?
There are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to child support in Arizona. For example, even if you can’t afford to pay the full amount of child support that is owed, you still have to make payments. Additionally, any arrearages on child support payments can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. And finally, 50% of your paycheck can be garnished through a Wage Assignment for child support.
Another thing to consider is travel expenses. The court may take into account whether or not one parent has had to travel a significant distance in order to exercise their parenting time rights. In cases where the parents live far apart, this could mean a parent may have to share in the travel expenses incurred for the parent to exercise parenting time..
Finally, it’s worth noting that a third party who gets custody of a child in Arizona is entitled to both parents’ financial support.
When the parents share custody of the child equally, is child support eliminated?
The answer is no–child support will still be ordered when parents share custody of the children equally. In fact, the Arizona courts will use the income share model to calculate child support in this case.
Under the income share model, both parents are responsible for contributing to their child’s financial needs. This takes into account each parent’s gross income and how much time the child spends with each parent. So even if you and your ex-spouse have equal custody of your children, one of you will have to pay child support to the other parent.
What are the income tax implications of child support in Arizona?
When it comes to the tax implications of child support in Arizona, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, the Arizona Child Support Guidelines do not use net income or deductions that reduce taxable income when calculating child support. This means that the amount of child support you pay is not impacted by your federal or state income taxes.
In addition, if you are ordered to pay child support, you may be able to claim certain tax deductions on your federal and state income taxes. However, please note that these deductions may vary depending on your individual tax situation. As always, it is best to consult with a qualified tax professional for more information.
What Is the Priority of the Child Support Obligation in Arizona?
In Arizona, the obligation to pay child support takes priority over all other financial obligations. This means that if you are behind on your mortgage or car payments, you still have to make your child support payments on time. The state will not hesitate to enforce this priority by imposing penalties such as jail time.
So if you’re having a hard time making ends meet, it’s important to contact your Arizona child support enforcement agency right away. They can help you work out a payment plan that fits within your budget and allows you to continue supporting your children financially.
What are the consequences for failing to pay child support in Arizona?
Some parents don’t enjoy paying child support. Unfortunately, if you fail to pay, the consequences can be severe.
For starters, if you’re held in contempt for your failure to pay child support, you may face jail time as punishment. The court may also order other penalties such as the suspension of your driver’s license or professional license. The court will also order you to pay interest on back child support making even harder to catch up.
Ouch! That doesn’t sound fun at all. So hopefully you’ll do everything in your power to avoid falling behind on those payments.
What are the enforcement options for collecting child support in Arizona?
If a non-custodial parent falls behind on child support payments by 30 days or more, the custodial parent can take them to court for contempt.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security is the state agency responsible for collecting child support payments, and they have a number of enforcement options available to them. These include garnishing the non-custodial parent’s wages, seizing their bank accounts, and taking their tax refunds.
The Mandatory Exchange of Financial Information
Parents who have a child support order in Arizona are required to exchange their financial information at least every two years. The purpose of this exchange is to find out if the current child support order should be modified.
The court order for exchanging financial information from parents includes exchanging an Affidavit of Financial Information. This document requires both parents to provide detailed information about their income and debts. The affidavit must be sworn under penalty of perjury.
If either parent has a change in their financial situation, they may request a modification to the child support order. The court will consider all relevant factors when making a decision, including the updated financial information provided by both parents.
How can child support payments be modified in Arizona?
Parents who are paying or receiving child support payments in Arizona may be wondering how the amount of those payments can be changed. Fortunately, Arizona has a simplified modification procedure that makes it relatively easy to modify child support payments. The following provides an overview of the process for modifying child support in Arizona.
If you would like to file a Petition to Modify Child Support in Arizona, you must do so by filing a document with the court that requests the change. In your petition, you will need to state why you believe the child support payment should be modified and be prepared to provide any evidence to the court to back up your claim. You will also need to include information about your current income and healthcare and child care expenses, as well as those of the other parent.
Once both parents have filed their petitions and supporting documents with the court, a hearing will be scheduled where both sides will have an opportunity to present their case before a judge. If the judge agrees that there is grounds for modifying child support, he or she will issue an order specifying the new payment amount. Parents are often able to reach agreements between themselves regarding modifications without having to go through this process; if they do so, they can submit a stipulation (agreement) to the court for approval.
Does child support automatically reduce when one of my children emancipates?
When a child emancipates, their parents are still responsible for providing financial support for any remaining unemancipated children. The amount of child support payments does not automatically decrease when one of the children emancipates.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to emancipation and child support. For one, the law does not automatically reduce payments when a child becomes emancipated. Additionally, there are other factors that courts may take into account when determining whether or not child support should be reduced.
The court will also look at the age of the children and how much money each parent makes. If one parent is making significantly more than the other, this could also impact decisions about child support payments
Will Either Parent’s Remarriage Affect a Child Support Order?
When it comes to child support, the answer to this question is a bit complicated.
For example, if the new spouse has children from a previous relationship, and those children also live with the parent who is remarried, the court may not reduce or terminate the child support order. Additionally, if either of the parents has additional expenses related to supporting step-children (like providing them with clothing or paying for their medical care), then those costs will also not be taken into account when determining whether or not to reduce or terminate a child support order in Arizona.
Disability Benefits Received for the Child
When it comes to child support, the disability benefits a custodial parent receives as a result of the disability benefits being paid on behalf of the other parent will count towards satisfying the other parent’s child support obligation. However, any overage in those disability payments are not credited toward arrears or as additional support paid. In other words, just because the other parent received more per money per month than the court ordered child support amount through disability benefits doesn’t mean you don’t still have to pay unpaid child support.
It’s important to remember that simply receiving these benefits does not absolve you from paying anything towards back child support payments–you’ll still need to catch up on past due amounts.
You should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC, if you have questions about child support in Arizona. Our Arizona child support and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child support and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or complete our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your child support or family law case around today.
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About the Author: Chris Hildebrand has over 26 years of Arizona family law experience and received awards from US News and World Report, Phoenix Magazine, Arizona Foothills Magazine and others. Visit https://www.hildebrandlaw.com.