Arizona Divorce Guide

Child Support

Both or either party may be ordered to Child supportpay a reasonable amount necessary for the support of a child in a divorce or legal separation proceeding. Arizona child support laws mandate the correct amount of child support to be assigned. The court has the latitude to deviate from the guidelines if it finds applying the guidelines would result in an unjust or inappropriate award.

The divorce laws in Arizona provide that in cases where a marriage annulment or marital annulment is sought, and there are children of the marriage, that those children be afforded the same rights, protections and parental financial support, including that the children are not considered illegitimate offspring of the parents, that other children of the state receive.

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Courts can order child support retroactively

The laws that govern dissolution in this state permit the court to apply child support rules retroactively. Family courts are expected to include any child support previously paid in their considerations. Retroactive child support is enforceable in the same manner that forward child support is. If you have lived apart before the date that you filed for divorce, the court may order child support retroactively to the date of separation, but not more than three years before the date of the filing.

The court rules on child support

AZ child support guidelines determine the amount of child support to be paid. These guidelines are universally applied. It bases the guidelines and criteria for any deviation from them on all relevant factors, including:

  • The financial resources and needs of the child
  • The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child, and the child’s educational needs,
  • he financial resources and needs of the non custodial parent
  • The medical support plan for the child
  • The duration of parenting time and related expenses
  • Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common
  • The duration of parenting time and related expenses
Bounce a child support check at your own peril

Don’t bounce a check. Really. Don’t. If a personal check for support payments is dishonored by the payer bank, the person obligated to pay support must make all subsequent support payments only by cash, money order, cashier’s check, traveler’s check or certified check. You can get back in good graces if you demonstrate timely payment for twenty-four consecutive months in the alternative payment method, meaning that after the 24 months of timely payment of child support by other than a check, that person may pay support by personal check if these payments are for the full amount and are on time.

If there is a chance your Ex will try to manipulate you or the kids with the visitation schedule, put an on-line Parenting Plan in place. Nothing stops the game-playing like a schedule in black and white. Simply tell your Ex that in order for the schedule to be changed, it must be discussed and agreed to; otherwise it is not changing.
Child support payments get returned

If you are the recipient of Arizona child support, and you fail to notify the clerk (or support repository) if you change addresses, they are unable to locate you so that funds may be forwarded to you, the court or repository is obligated by law to return the payments to the the payer (your ex). Care for kidsA family court order for AZ child support assigns responsibility for the payment of any medical costs of the child that are not covered by insurance. The state’s divorce laws require that person assigned to notify the child support payment clearinghouse if the child is no longer covered under an employer’s insurance plan.

The child support payment clearinghouse then notifies the child support enforcement agency in the department of economic security of the lapse in insurance coverage. Those ordered to pay child support must notify any any all licensing boards or agencies that issue professional, recreational or occupational licenses or certificates to that person their social security number, and these boards or agencies must keep that information on file in order to aid the department of economic security in locating parents or their assets or to enforce child support orders. In the final analysis, they will get their man (or woman).

Child Support Calculator

Arizona makes available an online support calculator. Before using it, you should gather the following info:

  • Children’s names and dates of birth
  • Gross income of both parents
  • Spousal maintenance paid or received by either parent
  • Court-ordered child support for children of other relationships
  • Medical, dental and vision insurance costs for children only
  • Extra education expenses paid
  • Extraordinary child expenses paid
  • Parenting time days per year, if not equal parenting time
  • Court-ordered arrears paid by the noncustodial parent

2011 Child Support Calculator – Use this calculator if your court order was entered after 5/31/11 and you seek a modification, OR this will be an original request for support.

Children of annulled marriages are afforded legitimacy

Divorce laws in Arizona provide that in cases where a marriage annulment or marital annulment is sought, and there are children of the marriage, that those children be afforded the same rights, protections and parental financial support, including that the children are not considered illegitimate offspring of the parents, that other children of the state receive.

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Child support ends at age 18

Arizona child support guidelines are governed by the state’s Division of Child Support Enforcement Arizona (DCSE). This office assists both custodial and non-custodial parents. Arizona child support ends at age 18, or when the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.

More on child support

To see approximately how much child support might be due in your case, use the Arizona child support calculator.

Child support terminates on the last day of the month that the youngest child turns 18 unless the court finds that it is projected that the youngest child will not complete high school by age 18. In that event, the termination date will be he last day of the month of the anticipated graduation date or age 19, whichever occurs first.

Read the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.

When your child has reached the age of majority and is going to college

Termination of Child Support and paying College Support –  no case law or statute exists forcing parents to pay for post-majority college costs.

[Based on Arizona Revised Statutes; §25-320, 322, 505.01]

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