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Calculating and enforcing child support in Arizona

Arizona follows an income shares model of child support and has regulations in place to enforce court-ordered child support payments.

More and more children in America are becoming accustomed to handling separated or divorce parents, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Whether a child’s parents reside together or apart, the child is still entitled to receive emotional and financial support from both their mother and father. The goal of child support in these cases is to bridge the financial gap that is created when a family enters into the divorce process. Many Arizona families experience a significant fluctuation in finances after a divorce occurs, and child support helps to minimize the effects of this change on the children involved.

Calculating child support

Arizona implements the income shares model of child support, which holds to the belief that children are entitled to the same amount of financial support that they would have received had their parents stayed together, according to the National Council of State Legislators. Some cases are as simple as calculating the gross income of each parent, adjusting it according to certain conditions and then determining a monthly payment. Other cases may prove to be more difficult, as the parent may not accept responsibility for supporting the child or may argue that the child is not theirs at all. In these cases, paternity must be established before child support can be ordered by the courts.

Factors when determining child support payments

According to the Arizona Courts, additional considerations are often made when determining child support payments in a divorce case, including:

  • Any dental, vision or medical expenses involving the children.
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent.
  • Additional insurance, education or child care expenses needed.
  • Any spousal support received by either parent.

Although these considerations are common, each child support case is unique and there may be other specific circumstances that have an effect on the judge’s decision to order child support.

Enforcing a child support order

There are some situations where a parent may become negligent in making their court-ordered child support payments. However, there are several ways that the Arizona Department of Child Support Services takes action in order to collect the unpaid funds. This includes intercepting tax refunds or state lottery winnings, withholding wages, seizing assets or property to cover the unpaid amount and suspending or revoking professional licenses until other arrangements have been made.

An attorney can help

Whether you are going through a divorce or separation and need help getting child support from the non-custodial parent, or you are seeking a significant amount of unpaid child support, an attorney can help. Not only can they provide essential legal advice, they will walk you through the entire legal procedure, making it easier for your child to get the child support they deserve.