Every four years, the Arizona Supreme Court is tasked with reevaluating the state’s child support guidelines. The Arizona Child Support Guidelines are then made available to the public, providing a detailed explanation of how child support payments are to be calculated. For an accurate amount to be determined, you’ll need to consider income, parenting time, and the child’s unique needs.
However, these guidelines are extensive, and it may be difficult to manually calculate what you should be paying or receiving. That’s why the State of Arizona has developed a child support calculator for the public to use. Simply input the pertinent information about your case, such as details regarding your children and your financial situation.
To summarize the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, you’ll need to consider the following information to calculate an individual’s child support obligation:
These are the variables that are considered when you use the state’s child support calculator. In court, however, there are other factors that may come into consideration and judges may exercise broad authority in reevaluating and adjusting payment amounts.
Although they aren’t accounted for when you use the calculator, child support payments can also be influenced by:
The most recent Arizona Child Support Guidelines (which went into effect at the start of 2022) have a presumptive adjusted income limit of $30,000 monthly, per parent. Once the threshold has been reached, the calculator will place a cap on the total support amount. Although this is a part of the calculator, it’s possible for this presumption to be manually overcome if the parent can demonstrate that the guideline would be unjust or inappropriate in their specific case.
If you have any additional questions about how to accurately calculate child support payments in Arizona, here are a few questions that are commonly asked by parents.
Before child support payments can be calculated, it’s important to understand whether your situation qualifies for child support. If you were never married to the child’s other parent, then yes, it’s possible to begin receiving child support payments. In this instance, you can directly file a petition with the court or have a private attorney file the petition on your behalf. It’s also possible for your local Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to aid you in establishing the support order.
If both parents are on amicable terms with one another, they may opt to draft their own child support agreement. This can make the process easier, faster, less expensive, and limit the court’s involvement in your marital affairs.
However, there are some key considerations to keep in mind, should you opt for this route. Even if you’re looking to stay out of court as much as possible, it’s still a good idea to hire an attorney when you work with your spouse to determine child support payments. It can also be worthwhile to enlist the aid of a family counselor or mediator. When negotiations are handled through attorneys and mediators, the process becomes more impersonal so that amicable relations between you and your spouse can continue as you work through dividing responsibilities and assets and finalizing the divorce.
Even if the amount being paid in child support isn’t determined in a courtroom, the agreement will still need to be approved by a judge. This is to ensure that all Arizona child support agreements are fair and that they protect the interests of the child. Additionally, the agreement must adhere to the state’s mandatory child support guidelines.
Due to both federal and Arizona state law, every individual with a child support order has the right to request modifications. If you believe a modification is necessary, and you qualify, you can work with the DCSS to review your request. This review will account for the parents’ current income, the most recent AZ Child Support Guidelines, and whether the situation has changed substantially enough to warrant a modification.
Depending on the outcome of the review, it’s possible for a child support order to be increased, decreased, or upheld. Orders have sometimes been modified by 15% or more in past cases.
If your ex-partner remarries or has another family that they must support, this could impact the amount that you’re receiving in child support. Nevertheless, the noncustodial parent doesn’t lose obligation to the children they had with their previous partner. Even if their child support obligation is reduced because one parent has children with a new partner, it will not be eliminated entirely. If a modification is proposed and you believe it unreasonable, you’ll be given adequate time to contest it.
If you’re having trouble determining how much you should be paying or receiving in child support, you can contact the experienced attorneys at Reppucci & Roeder. We’ll always prioritize your well-being and the welfare of your children. We can help to ensure that court orders are put in place for adequate child support payments and fair parenting time, and that these orders will benefit your family and protect your rights to the fullest extent of the law.
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