Is the Arizona Child Support Calculator Complicated?

arizona child support calculatorGoing through a divorce or separation can be an incredibly difficult and emotional time for people to go through, but it can become even harder when there are young children involved. Everyone wants what it best for any minor children of a couple that is separating, but not everyone agrees on what that looks like.

Part of a divorce settlement will be child support payment agreements. Today, we want to look at some of the issues involved in figuring out child support payments and what that means for you and how a skilled and experienced attorney can walk you through the process.

The Goal Of Child Support Payments

The goal of Arizona’s child support laws is to ensure that both parents pay a fair share of child support. Under state law, both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child in the event of a separation.

The National Child Support Strategic Plan states that child support payments are meant, “To encourage responsible parenting, family self-sufficiency and child well-being.”

We can all agree that those are laudable goals, though many people think of child support payments as a punishment.

They are not. They are necessary expenses that are not well understood.

Calculating Child Support Expenses

Arizona state law guides how much child support payments will be and for how long they will be made. An Income Shares Model is used and calculations can be done online. Please note that the state updates and changes guidelines for child support payments every few years to ensure that appropriate amounts are calculated. Some of the factors that the court examines when determining payments includes:

  • How much money is needed to support the child, including food, shelter, and basic necessities.
  • What kind of life the child enjoyed during the marriage and would have continued to enjoy had there been no separation.
  • Educational and medical needs of the child.
  • The cost of child care, particularly for younger children.
  • The financial resources of both parents.
  • Final child custody arrangement.

Why is the support amount different depending on custody?

There are different kinds of physical custody: sole custody (child lives with one parent), joint custody (child lives part time with each parent), and split custody (parents divide the children between them, if more than one child). If a child, or children, spend more time with one parent than with the other, then that parent may be required to pay less actual money because they are already providing more in other ways (housing, food, other bills).

The amount of children involved will also be taken into account.

Typically, these payments will be terminated when the child reaches the age of 18 or when they graduate from high school.

Modifying Child Support Payments

After a couple separates, they will inevitably undergo life changes. Because of these changes, there may need to be changes made to child support payments. Some of the circumstances that can affect these changes could include:

  • Changes in income due to job loss or promotion
  • Changes in living situations
  • Custody arrangement changes

Please speak with a qualified attorney about your particular situation when determining if changes need to be made to your child support payments.

Moving Forward From Here

We recognize that there is no easy way to deal with issues of child support and child custody. Divorce and separation are difficult, emotional processes. This is especially true when children are involved. You should always seek out knowledgeable and experienced legal assistance to guide you through what is a highly technical process. You want to make sure every base is covered.

Click here for information on the divorce process in Arizona.