Every state in the U.S. has guidelines for use in determining the amount of child support paid by parents to aid in the upbringing of their children, and Arizona is no exception. Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines approximates the total amount the parents of a child would spend if living together as one family. This is known as the shared income approach.
Under the shared income approach, each parent is required to contribute a proportionate share of his or her income to the child’s support. This generally means that the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay a percentage of his or her gross income to the custodial parent in child support.
The amount of support paid to the custodial parent is calculated after taking several factors into account, such as:
The court may deviate from the child support guidelines when abiding strictly by the guidelines produces an unjust result in any particular case.
Gross income is an inclusive term in Arizona. Parents must include any wages, stocks, bank accounts, retirement accounts, capital gains, veterans’ benefits, prizes and awards, lottery and gambling winnings, insurance and workers’ compensation benefits, pensions, and annuities when calculating gross income for child support.
Parents can agree to deviate from child support guidelines when extending child support for a longer term than legally required. They may also agree to a larger child support amount payable than that due under the child support guidelines.
There is nearly always a child support payment from one parent to another. The exception may be when parents earn equal incomes and share equal time with the child. This is extremely unlikely.
A date for termination of child support is set forth in the child support order. However, child support is typically presumed terminated on the last day of the month of the youngest child’s eighteenth birthday. If the youngest child is unlikely to finish high school by age eighteen, support terminates on the last day of the month of anticipated graduation or on the child’s nineteenth birthday.
If a child has mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from living independently, child support may continue into adulthood.
Child support does not reduce automatically when one child ages out or graduates. The paying parent must get a child support order reduced when a child emancipates.
Virtual visitation is not a substitute for face-to-face visitation and will not reduce a child support obligation.
If you would like to learn more about Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines and how they apply to your current situation, contact the experienced child support attorneys at Wilson-Goodman, PLLC. Our law firm represents parents who need child support matters determined as part of a divorce or parentage proceeding, as well as parents seeking to modify or enforce an existing child support order.
Contact our Chandler divorce attorneys today for a confidential consultation.