Child support

Many people think that child support in Arizona is a simple topic, as Arizona uses “Guidelines” that are essentially a computer calculator.  A.R.S. § 25-320.  In reality, the issue of child support, and the complexities therein can mean a difference in tens of thousands of dollars, or more, during the life of a child. Issues such as medical costs, private school, daycare, insurance, and others can increase the complexity, such that a competent attorney is recommended.  When you meet with us, we can provide you with an estimate of what to expect to pay or be paid each month for child support.  Additionally, there can be significant complexity to the calculation of income itself, when one or both parties is self-employed or owns a business.

Many factors go into the child support equation, including:

  • ·        Each parent's gross monthly earnings;
    ·        The number of children;
    ·        Any other natural or adopted children of either parent;
    ·        Child care expenses;
    ·        Medical insurance premiums;
    ·        Parenting time days;
    ·        Private School;
    ·        Extra educational expenses (tutoring);
    ·        Special needs expenses.

Once a child support order has been established, the order can only be modified upon the showing of a substantial and continuing change of circumstances, and the party seeking a modification of child support bears the burden of proof.  A.R.S. § 25-503(D); Jenkins v. Jenkins, 215 Ariz. 35 (App. 2007).  We can explain in detail what factors must be met in order to modify an existing child support order or to establish one.  These factors can include increases or decreases in incomes, the elimination of child care expenses or an increase or decrease in parenting time days, to name a few.

 We can help you file to establish child support, modify the amount of child support ordered, and to terminate child support if a child has emancipated.

Contrary to popular belief, in Arizona child support does not automatically change if one of your children emancipates. Many parties end up with significant arrears due to this erroneous belief.

Child Support Deviations:

In some cases, the Court will deviate above or below the amount calculated by the Guidelines.  These cases can involve high incomes, extravagant lifestyles, or extra needs of the children.  When determining whether a deviation is appropriate, the court must consider “all relevant factors.”  The court must also find that the “application of the guidelines is inappropriate or unjust in a particular case and deviation is in the best interest of the child.”  Pearson v. Pearson, 190 Ariz. 231 (App. 1997).  These are more complicated than simple Guideline calculations, and we can ensure your children receive all the support to which they are entitled.