The latest official records from Arizona tell us that 24, 430 people underwent the dissolution of marriage in 2017. This includes both, divorce and marriage annulments. While divorce is a pretty common occurrence in the United States—around 3 in every 1000 citizens as of 2017—the laws that govern divorce and child support proceedings vary from state to state.
These state-specific laws and regulations can be problematic for individuals who have no legal knowledge. In divorce proceedings where a child is involved, additional challenges—such as the question of child custody and support—are expected.
Child Support Under Arizona Law
Under Arizona law, both custodial and non-custodial parents have an obligation to provide for their children what is termed “reasonable support.” This goes for all minor children involved—biological or adopted. This order is usually handed down by the court in the event of legal separation between two individuals who are obliged to provide for a child.
Retroactive Child Support
There are cases when the court does not order child support but considers it necessary. In these cases, a retroactive application that deals with the filing for dissolution, etc. is issued. This application also includes the past payments due for child support. The court considers all voluntary financial support on the part of either parent in the past.
If the Parents Lived Apart before Filing the Petition
If the petition for separation came after two individuals have spent considerable time living separately, the court order takes under consideration no more than the three years before the petition was filed.
In such cases, courts take into consideration all kinds of marital misconduct (as is not taken into consideration under standard child support orders) and motivations. A retroactive application carrying guidelines for past due payments is filed. The court considers all past voluntary support on the part of either parent.
How Does the Court Decide the Amount for Child Support?
The Supreme Court is the leading authority that establishes all guidelines used for determining the amount for child support. At times, written applications that find the amount to be unjust can undo the order. Every 4 years, these guidelines are scrutinized and reviewed.
Several factors go into deciding how one or both parents should contribute financially to the wellbeing of their child. These include:
- The child’s financial resources
- The child’s financial needs
- The child’s financial needs and resources in comparison with that of the custodial parent
- The expected standard of living for the child had they lived with both parents
- The child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs
- The resources and financial needs of the non-custodial parent
- The child’s medical history and needs, with reference to medical insurance
- The expected duration for parenting
Calculating How Much You’ll Have to Pay for Your Child in Arizona
As far as the United States Census Bureau is concerned, as of 2010, the average monthly amount for child support was $430. Of course, we’ve come a long way since 2010. A decade has passed, and factors such as inflation have considerably affected this amount. Additionally, there are several other factors that go into this decision, as have been detailed above.
A great way of getting a somewhat accurate estimate of how much you should expect to pay for your child is through using online calculators. We suggest you use the one provided by the Arizona Department of Economic Security for this purpose. According to this calculator, a non-custodial parent making $2,000 every month and who has 2 children living with the custodial parent is expected to pay $500. The price increases as the child ages. Such as when the child(ren) cross(es) 12 years of age, the non-custodial parent making $2,000 will be required to pay around $615.
Going through the Child Support Guidelines in Arizona also helps gauge how this amount will be worked out by the court. These guidelines account for all additional factors and provide a chart, using which a non-custodial parent can have a pretty good idea of the payments they’ll need to make. The Total Child Support Obligation is divided between both the parents, with respect to their respective gross incomes, the parenting time, and other costs.
The guidelines for parents who have shared custody of a child are somewhat different than those with unilateral custody. When both parents are custodial parents, there are added complications. For starters, the child must spend 40% of their time with either parent. The sole factor that the court takes into consideration before deciding an amount is the gross income of both the parents. The parent with a higher gross income pays the difference between the two salaries.
This is keeping in mind that the maximum a parent is required to pay for child support is no more than 50% of their disposable salaries. The rule stays the same for a parent who has remarried and is providing for another family. The Arizona Revised Statutes also places a cap on child support in the event where the parents’ monthly income exceeds $20,000 or when there are more than 6 children involved. A parent can always seek child support regardless of the caps, but the court will only decide in your favor once they’ve reviewed all the state regulations and limits.
Why a Law Firm With Experience in Family Law Helps
The math and working involved in child support can be very tricky to work out, as well as the legalities and regulations involved. Often, specific circumstances, such as loss of a job or a disabling injury, can render a parent unable to provide further financial support to children. In all events, consulting an experienced child support lawyer is vital.
Weingart Family Law is one such law firm in Arizona. They can help you use the child support calculator and obtain near-accurate estimates. The attorneys can also help you obtain certain court forms if you require them. The family law attorney at Weingart Family Law is dedicated to helping parents who are confused about child support wade through the right legal waters.
Whether it’s a custodial parent in need of additional child support or a non-custodial parent who is no longer able to pay child support, Weingart Family Law can help.
Give them a call at (602) 675-8678 or get in touch with them online for more detailed answers to any queries about child support in Arizona.
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