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Who Pays Child Support in Arizona?

Who Pays Child Support in Arizona?

Couples who file for divorce go through a lot, especially if children are involved. Divorcing parties must carefully consider the child’s legal rights and best interest, which is often easier said than done. If you plan to get a divorce or have questions on the divorce procedure and related legal matters, a competent and compassionate Arizona family law attorney can help. Child support issues must be taken very seriously, so do not take your chances.

This article will focus on child support payments in Arizona. In particular, it will briefly cover the following:

  • The Basics of Paying Child Support in AZ
  • Related Statues and Areas of Family Law
  • Child Support Payments and Child Custody Rights
  • Paying Child Support After Divorce in Arizona
  • Determining the Amount of Child Support Payments
  • Seeking Legal Advice from the Right Law Office


The Basics of Paying Child Support in AZ

As with any other dissolution of marriage, a divorce petition will often involve tedious discussions on the division of property, child custody issues brought to court, and child and spousal support, whenever applicable. When filing for legal separation or getting divorced, both spouses must be familiar with relevant state law that they must strictly follow.

People who wish to establish paternity, establish child support, modify child support, and enforce child support orders usually proceed to the Department of Child Support Services. One must keep in mind, however, that divorce laws may vary significantly from state to state. This would imply that actual child support guidelines and relevant statutes may likewise differ depending on the jurisdiction. As such, it is highly advisable to seek legal advice from a seasoned Arizona child support lawyer early on.

In general, under relevant tax law, child support is not considered taxable income. This would mean that the parent paying child support may not deduct any amount of child support paid from their taxable income. Conversely, the parent receiving child support payments does not have to claim such an amount on their federal income tax return.


Related Statues and Areas of Family Law

Whatever the divorcing parties are going through emotionally is made further complicated by the accompanying legal proceeding. The most challenging legal matters that divorcing couples must discuss are granting custody, deciding on co-parenting set-ups, and making child support payments.

All legal proceedings in the courthouse related to child custody and support are often very sensitive since they can have a tremendous impact on the child’s life. Additionally, it is not uncommon for tensions to rise and tempers to flare in the family court. 

Under relevant family laws in Arizona, divorced parents may draft, modify, and finalize a child custody arrangement independently. If this is not possible, a court order will determine who is awarded custody. Getting legal help is necessary to make sure that you are familiar with relevant state laws covering child custody, child support orders, and other related matters.

Unknown to many, it is not unusual for the court to award custody (primary physical custody) to divorced fathers. This is because when granting custody, parenting time, and other visitation rights, the child’s best interests are at the forefront. Similarly, not a lot are aware that payment of child support factors into these legal proceedings.


Child Support Payments and Child Custody Rights

It is helpful to keep in mind that when non-custodial parents regularly pay child support, they establish that they can provide the emotional and financial needs of the children involved. In contrast, negligence to pay for child support can affect one’s chance of getting custody during the actual legal proceeding.

Given its very sensitive nature and its impact on the life of those involved, child custody laws are often complicated. It is not uncommon that court-ordered visitation is not enforced the way it should be. While there are cases where the non-custodial parent goes beyond the limits given by the court, some divorced fathers are, in contrast, prevented from spending time with their children.

If your former spouse is keeping your child, not because of an illness or emergency or illness, a trusted family law attorney can help you insist that the court must enforce a court-ordered visitation schedule. In this case, non-custodial parents must record when the custodial parent did not allow them to spend time with their children. This will be useful in child custody disputes, specifically if there is a need to file a petition asking the court to enforce custody and visitation rights.

Violators would likely be asked to make up for missed visitations, attend counseling sessions, or improve the parenting plan. However, despite recurring custody violations, it is essential not to stop paying child support at any point for the child’s best interests.


Paying Child Support After Divorce in Arizona

Child support enforcement is a joint effort of the federal and state government to help families obtain and enforce child support orders. Under pertinent state laws, every child is entitled to be supported until they reach the age of 18. If they are still in high school at this age, child support will continue until graduation, but not past their 19th birthday.

Every parent has a legal duty to support their child. In almost all cases, the noncustodial parent makes child support payments to the custodial parent. However, paying child support would no longer be made if, over a sustained period, both custodial and noncustodial parents earned identical incomes and spent equal hours with their child.

Child support laws generally take into account the monthly income levels vis-a-vis expenses related to raising the child. Laws governing divorce cases help determine how much child support is to be allocated. If circumstances change (such as the increased income of either parent, decreased ability to provide support, or additional needs of a child), child support modification is a possibility. 

Either parent may ask the family court for either an increase or reduction or increase in child support. Modifying child support is possible if you can show that circumstances have changed, particularly to the extent that a new child support calculation would differ from the current payment by 15 percent or more.


Determining the Amount of Child Support Payments

For payments for child support to be calculated, the family court looks into each parent’s income, the needs of the child, and the number of children in need of support. Additionally, calculating child support is a lot more complicated in split custody or joint physical custody cases.

In general, child support payment will usually be influenced by: 

  • the gross monthly income of both the custodial and non-custodial parent, 
  • the amount of monthly child support or spousal support (alimony) paid to a spouse from a prior marriage, 
  • the monthly cost of family group health insurance paid by both parents, 
  • and the cost of daycare paid by a custodial parent each month.

However, it is important to keep in mind that it is still the court that has the final authority to determine the child support amount. Since many other factors influence the actual child support order, it is essential to seek legal advice from hands-on Arizona family law attorneys.


Seeking Legal Advice from the Right Law Office

In order to calculate child support, family courts in Arizona take into account the combined income of both parents and come up with a total amount that both parents should spend on the child per month. Under this income shares model, both parents are responsible for a percentage of this monthly amount spent on the child, in proportion to their respective monthly incomes. Payments are then made to the custodial parent.

Child support is considered the financial contribution of non-custodial parents to the raising and upbringing of the child. While child support expenses may seem straightforward (covering food, shelter, clothing, and medical care), determining these is not as simple as it looks. Contact our Arizona family law firm for assistance on child support cases. Call us at Snader Law and consult with an experienced Arizona family law attorney.

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