The responsibility for the support and care of a child is shared by both parents. If you are the non-custodial parent, this will include paying child support. The amount of child support is calculated according to the Arizona child support guidelines. To get an idea of what you might expect to pay or receive, you can access the child support calculator from our website.
These guidelines apply to child support cases in Arizona. They take into account a variety of factors:
What is the income of the parents
How much are child care costs and who pays for it
How much is insurance and who pays it
Any special needs the child may have
The age of the child
How much time does the child spend with the parent who is paying child support
In most cases, child support obligations are typically taken directly out of the paycheck of the parent paying support and forwarded to the court. The court then handles the record keeping and forwards the payment to the parent entitled to receive it. The court tracks these payments in case there are disagreements in the future over amounts paid. For this reason, it is important that support payments go through the court, not directly to the other parent or third parties.
Child support is paid when the child is under 18, or in some cases until the child is 19 if the child is still in high school. If the child has special needs, or is mentally and/or physically impaired, support may continue indefinitely.
In certain cases, the court may allow parents to vary from the child support guidelines. This discretion rests with the court, which is not obligated to allow it.
Each situation is different. You may be told that your friend pays a certain amount of child support. This has no bearing on what you may be ordered to pay, or what you may receive. We can explain to you how the child support guidelines may apply in your circumstance.
Call us at 480-733-6800 for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss your questions regarding child support.
Modification of Support
Many of the issues raised in a divorce or paternity proceeding are resolved when the court enters the Decree of Dissolution. However, certain orders are ongoing and the court retains the ability to modify these orders as time progresses. Also, it is sometimes necessary to seek the court’s assistance to enforce a previously entered order.
Major changes can include an increase or decrease in the income of a parent, caused perhaps by the loss of a job, or the associated loss of medical insurance. The child may have needs that were unforeseen and unplanned for by the court or the parties. In some circumstances, one parent wants to move out of state with the child. If a change in circumstances is such that it impacts the orders previously entered by the court, a modification of those orders from the court is necessary.
Changes in income, whether up or down, may mean that the child support order needs to be modified. Child support modification is not retroactive so if you believe that a modification is warranted you should contact us as soon as possible. Do not rely on agreements that are not recognized by the court as they are generally unenforceable.
In addition, we can help you enforce a child support order. If you are a non-custodial parent and you are behind on your payments, you should contact us to see what can be done about past due amounts.
Sometimes the custodial parent can no longer care for the child. In that instance, we can help you obtain a modification of the custody orders. Both parents may agree to change custody in certain cases, such as when they agree the child should attend a particular school where one parent lives. It is important to obtain approval from the court when modifications of custody are agreed to. If a parent leaves the state or the country with a child in violation of the court’s orders, talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
If alimony or Maintenance payments are no longer needed, or needed for longer than originally provided for by the court, modification is in order. If other issues affect the needs of one spouse, or the other’s ability to pay the court can modify an award of spousal maintenance.
If a party does not comply with the court’s orders related to the division of debt or property, we can help you petition the court to enforce the prior orders. Contact Davis Miles McGuire Gardner to initiate modifications of any kind.