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Child Support FAQs

Posted On June 21, 2021 In Child Support

1.    How is the amount of child support determined in Arizona?

Each state adopts its own guidelines for setting automatic child support rates based on various criteria, including family income and the number of children in the household. You can see the guidelines for the Arizona child support calculations by clicking here.

In this state, the total child support calculation attempts to approximate what each parent would have spent on the child if they were living together as a family. Under the shared income approach, each parent will be required to pay a proportionate share of their income. In general, non-custodial parents will be ordered by the court to pay a percentage of their gross monthly income to the custodial parent.

2.    What is included in gross income for child support calculations?

When we are looking at the Arizona child support guidelines, we can see that gross income will be broadly interpreted and inclusive of every type of income, including wages, interest on investments, retirement account amounts, capital gains, various benefits, lottery and gambling winnings, prizes and awards, insurance or workers’ compensation benefits, etc.

3.    Can both parents agree to a child support amount in a separation agreement?

Yes, it is possible for separation agreements to make changes to child support. However, separation agreements cannot undermine the total amount that would typically be awarded based on the Arizona child support calculations. These agreements can extend child support for longer periods of time than legal presumptions require. The separation agreement can also allow both parties to agree to pay an amount above what the guidelines suggest. These new agreements would then be enforceable out of court.

4.    If both parents share equal custody, can child support be eliminated?

Both parents are responsible for paying child support, which means there is almost always going to be a payment from one parent to the other. The only exceptions best would be if, over a sustained period of time, both parents earned nearly identical incomes and spent the same amount of time with their child. This is not very likely to occur.

5.    Does the custodial parent always receive child support?

In general, yes, the custodial parent will always receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent. Every parent in Arizona has a legal duty to support their natural or adopted child, which means that the non-custodial parent will end up paying money to the custodial parent.

6.    How long is child support paid?

The court will set a termination date for child support orders. In general, this means that payments will be made until the child reaches their 18th birthday or when they graduate high school. If the court determines the child is not likely to finish high school by the time they reach the age of 18, the child support will terminate on the last month of the child’s anticipated graduation or on their 19th birthday, whichever date occurs first.

7.    What if you don’t think you’re the father?

If a mother has filed for child support and you do not believe that you are the father, you will find that a paternity test will be required. The judge will decide who has to pay for the test, and the test will ultimately be used to make further determinations about child support. If it is determined that you are the father of the child, you will have to follow the standard Arizona child support obligations.