Child support responsibilities in Arizona

In Arizona, child support guidelines are imposed by Arizona's statutory law. Under the obligation, a custodial parent of a child may be entitled to specific payments from the noncustodial parent. These payments are intended to assist with child-rearing responsibilities.

The idea is that a specific amount of each parent's income should be put toward supporting the child. The amounts allocated for the child support obligation are set out in the Schedule of Basic Support Obligations. In general, the amounts are assigned based on the monthly adjusted gross income of the child's parents. However, health care costs and childcare costs are also factored into the equation.

Based on each parent's adjusted gross income, a portion of the total support requirement is allocated to the parents. Assuming there are natural expenses that evolve from being the custodial parent, typically, the noncustodial parent pays his or her required share to the custodial parent. However, if custody is equally shared between both parents (and they have the same adjusted gross income), neither party would need to pay additional child support. Raising the child for a significant portion of the time would account for such expenses.

However, the goal of the support program is to meet the child's personal and independent needs. This means there are no hard and fast rules. For this reason, the court may depart from traditional guidelines if specific factors are satisfied. Specifically, the court may make adjustments if it finds the following to be true:

  • The guidelines, in practice, are insufficient or unjust in the particular circumstances.
  • The departure does not go against the best interests of the child.

The court may also make a departure from traditional guidelines if the parties are in agreement with a specific deviation.

Altering the child support obligation

Parties are entitled to receive tax return documents from each other every two years, until the payment duty is complete. Changes in a party's adjusted gross income could trigger a need for an adjustment in one's child support obligation.

Arizona law allows modifications in child support if upon review of the state's guidelines, a change of at least 15 percent in the amount owed would occur after recalculation of the required payment. A modification can be made when there is either a significant increase or decrease in a parent's income.

Moreover, it important to note that if the noncustodial begins to spend a lot more time with the child, he or she could also pursue a change in the monthly payment obligation.

Ultimately, the obligation to contribute to a child's needs is very important in Arizona. If you are the parent of a child in the state, you may have specific financial responsibilities to your loved one. On the other hand, you could be entitled to assistance from the child's other parent. If you would like to learn more about your rights or obligations in your particular child custody case, take the time to speak with a qualified family law attorney in your area.