What You Need to Know About Arizona Child Support Laws
Child support is an important financial support for children and their parents. Here’s everything you need to know about Arizona child support laws.
Arizona determines child support by calculating a parent’s Child Support Income. Courts also consider other factors when evaluating how a parent must support their child. Once an Arizona court assigns a parent to pay child support, they must do so until the child support agreement with the other parent changes.
Child Support in Arizona
In Arizona, courts will enforce child support to establish support for a child that can meet their reasonable needs. Courts calculate child support in Arizona using both parents’ incomes. Arizona child support guidelines apply to any parent with a legal obligation to support their child.
Arizona courts expect parents to prioritize child support above all other financial obligations.
Calculating Child Support in Arizona
Arizona uses a measurement of Child Support Income when calculating a parent’s required child support. Courts consider the following when calculating Child Support Income:
- Severance pay
- Military pay
- Trust Income
- Capital gains
- Unemployment insurance
- Spousal maintenance
Arizona courts have discretion when considering non-recurring income in a Child Support Income calculation. Courts in Arizona do not consider the distribution of marital property when calculating child support.
When calculating a child support obligation, Arizona courts will identify a parent’s Child Support Income and reference the Schedule of Basic Support Obligations. Arizona courts will also consider parenting time, age of children, medical insurance, and childcare expenses when calculating child support obligations.
How Parenting Time Affects Child Support in Arizona
Parenting time is the amount of time a child is with a parent. The parent with less parenting time must pay child support to the parent with more parenting time in Arizona. If parents have equal parenting time, the parent with the higher Child Support Income must pay the parent with the lower Child Support Income.
Individuals Without Child Support Income in Arizona
Arizona law does not consider certain individuals to have Child Support Income. Arizona courts do not expect these individuals to pay child support. Examples of those without Child Support Income are incarcerated individuals, disabled individuals, or parents undergoing occupational training.
FAQs About Arizona Child Support Laws
Do stepparents have to pay for child support in Arizona?
Arizona considers supporting a stepchild to be voluntary. As a result, Arizona law does not require stepparents to pay child support.
Is child support similar to spousal support in Arizona?
In Arizona, child support and spousal support are not always connected. If a parent pays for child support, a court may not necessarily require spousal support. If a parent pays spousal support, a court may adjust their child support payments to balance the total compensation.
Does Arizona law consider the number of children when calculating Child Support?
In Arizona, courts may award a party more child support if they have more than six children. A party seeking more child support must prove that their children’s needs require more financial support.
How can a lawyer help me with child support in Arizona?
An experienced attorney can work with their client to identify their Child Support Income. They can advocate for a client who needs more child support and help their client plan for future changes in child support payments.