There are many uncertainties that arise when a couple decides to divorce. These concerns are often much greater when the divorce also includes minor children. No doubt, one of the most important issues in any divorce that involves minor children is the issue of child support. We are not only expert Divorce Attorneys but have helped countless parents with child support issues thoughout Arizona.
Most people think of child support as the amount of money one parent has to pay to the other to help support the children. This is only partly true. In a real sense, support of the minor children extends beyond a monthly monetary payment and includes a parent’s obligation to make sure a child’s emotional and psychological needs are addressed.
Child support in Arizona is determined using Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines provide a framework for determining a monthly monetary obligation that one parent pays to the other to ease the financial burden associated with caring for the children. There are a number of factors that are considered in determining who pays child support and how much. However, the two factors that most heavily influence the amount of child support that is to be paid are the income of the parties and amount of parenting time each parent has.
The first step in calculating child support is to determine what each parent’s income is. This is typically determined by both parties filling out an Affidavit of Financial Information (AFI). The AFI requires each parent to provide a full disclosure of his or her income, expenses and other financial obligations. Each parent is required to provide current pay stubbs, W-2s and tax information, where applicable. The AFI becomes the basis for determining each parent’s income for purposes of calculating child support.
Before the amount of the child support obligation can be determined, it is also necessary to determine how much parenting time each parent will have with the minor children. This can be decided by the parents through an agreement or, by the court if the matter proceeds to trial. In more one parent exercises parenting time, the more the other parent will typically have to pay in child support. Other factors, such as costs of insurance and daycare also influence the amount child support under Arizona guidelines.
Once the amount of the obligation is determined an order is entered by the judge obligating one parent to pay the other monthly support. The parent obligated to pay child support has the responsibility to make sure he or she is making the payment each and every month. The court order will require that all child support payments be made through the Support Clearinghouse through Automatic Wage Assignment, meaning that the paying parent’s wages will be garnished by the Clearinghouse to make sure the support is paid. The parent receiving child support will receive his or her support payments directly from the Support Clearinghouse. This assures that the obligation is getting paid regularly each month and that the parent receiving child support is getting paid as required by the court order. Any payment not made through the Clearinghouse can be considered a gift and the paying parent may not get credit for that payment. Failure to make regular and consistent child support payments will result in a child support arrearage that will accrue interest.
Child support can be modified if a change of circumstances occurs (i.e., loss of job, decrease in income, increase in income, etc.) and the modification requested is in the best interest of the minor child/children.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Kevin Jensen understands how important and stressful the issue of child support can be. We are committed to pursuing practical and effective solutions for our clients facing child support issues. Our legal team will make sure you understand the child support process in Arizona and will passionately and compassionately make sure your most important asset, your children, are being protected. Contact us today for a free consultation about your Arizona Child Support issues. With offices in Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert we are ready to help.