Child support in Arizona helps ensure that a child’s basic needs are met after his or her parents get divorced. It is a key issue that arises in divorce: How much should you pay or receive? And what does it cover?
The answers to these questions are found in state law and your divorce decree. Following the requirements will help you and your ex continue to care for your children. “Ultimately, the obligation to contribute to a child’s needs is very important in Arizona,” according to local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC. “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.”
To help, here are the types of expenses covered by child support.
Basic needs vary, but child support should take care of what a child must have from day to day. “In general, child support is designed to maintain a child’s living standard and ensure all their basic needs are covered,” according to Very Well Family. These needs may include meals, toiletries, clothing, cleaning supplies, and travel to school and activities.
Tuition and school expenses
Whether your child is in public or private school, there may be fees for tuition, textbooks, uniforms, tutors, supplies, lunch, and more. These school-related expenses are an important part of child support.
As for higher education, you and your ex will need to decide how you want to handle the cost. “Parents in Arizona are not required to provide financial support to a child in college,” DeShon Laraye Pullen says. “However, parents can form an agreement to make provisions for college expenses. Since the family court will lose jurisdiction of your child when he or she turns 19, the agreement may be enforced in civil court.”
Extracurriculars and entertainment
Teams, clubs, entertainment, travel, all cost money for parents. Child support is meant to help both parents maintain a certain standard of living for the child, so it would be wise to consider all these expenses.
“The goal of the support program is to meet the child’s personal and independent needs,” DeShon Laraye Pullen says. “This means there are no hard and fast rules. For this reason, the court may depart from traditional guidelines if specific factors are satisfied.”
Your divorce decree may specify who is responsible for medical insurance, but child support can help pay for expenses not covered by insurance. “In many circumstances, child support may be used to cover these and other expenses, such as dental braces, casts, eyeglasses, and other special health care costs (especially if a child has pre-existing special medical needs),” according to FindLaw. “Depending on the state guidelines, parents must split the cost of additional medical care.”
Daycare, afterschool programs, and camps may be eligible for child support, if a parent relies on them to be able to go to a job.
If you are going through a divorce, the attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen are experienced when it comes to helping parents navigate child support. For more information or to set up a consultation, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com.