Child support is each parent’s financial responsibility for raising a child. The calculation of child support may require that a parent make monthly payments to the other parent as a contribution toward that expense. The need for child support payments usually arises when one parent’s income is substantially greater than the other, when parenting time differs substantially or when one parent pays expenses that both should be sharing, such as childcare, tuition, or medical/dental/vision insurance premiums.
Both parents are obligated to provide support for a minor child. Support is awarded to provide for the child’s basic needs and to allow the child to share in the standard of living of both parents. Both mothers and fathers can be ordered to pay support, depending on the facts of each case.
Child support is calculated by each state’s family court system. Arizona requires that child support be based on the best interests of the child. In addition to determining support in contentious divorce cases, courts review stipulations (agreements) between parents and can overrule an agreement that does not adequately provide for children.
Arizona has its own set of Guidelines to determine child support; however, even when the Arizona State Child Support Guidelines are employed, judges will consider the facts of each case and other statutes when making a final child support determination. Judges have broad discretion and may deviate from the Child Support Guidelines when certain conditions exist, such as how property is divided, whether an arrearage (unpaid child support) exists, and what disparities in parents’ incomes exist. Judges must provide an explanation supporting an exception to the Child Support Guidelines and that the exception serves the child’s best interests.
The Child Support Guidelines consider many criteria in calculating child support. The Guidelines consider the needs of subsequent children when parents remarry and start new families. The Arizona Child Support Guidelines take into consideration, among other things, the age of the child, and governments of other benefits received for the child by virtue of one of the parents. Investment income, unearned income, over-time, bonuses, income from a second job, gifts, and retirement pay may all be eligible income when calculating child support due, regardless of its tax status, depending on the facts of the particular case. Putative income (earning capacity) may be attributed in calculating support if it is suspected that a parent is deliberately underemployed or unemployed.
The professionals at the Law Office of Kent Lee, PC represent individuals throughout Peoria, Glendale, and the surrounding communities of Maricopa County, Phoenix, Surprise, Anthem, Arrowhead, El Mirage, Avondale, Tolleson, Buckeye, Sun City, Sun City Grand, & Sun City West.
If you need legal representation pertaining to child support cases, the Law Office of Kent Lee, PC can help. Please feel free to call (623) 889-7760.