How is Child Support Determined in Arizona?

child-support-arizonaAZ law requires both custodial and non-custodial parents to give their minor children reasonable support. This is a legal obligation that cannot be avoided. 

The state of Arizona considers the determination of the amount of child support that each parent is responsible for so important that it has adopted a set of guidelines and a formula for calculating such. 

This means that the amount of child support isn’t left to judicial discretion, and it’s easier to approximate the amount that each party would spend.

An AZ child support attorney will help to clarify these details and guide you through the process.

How is Child Support Calculated in AZ?

In Arizona, child support is determined through the Income Shares Model, which takes into consideration both parents’ income. 

The amount of support approximates the amount that each parent would have spent on the child if they were living in one household. Under this shared income framework, each parent is expected to contribute a proportionate share of their income.

Under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, the amount of support depends on a number of factors including:

  • Gross income of either parent
  • Daycare expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Costs associated with parenting time
  • Any extraordinary household expenses
  • The number of children residing in the home

Gross income is often flexibly and broadly interpreted under the Guidelines. It’s inclusive, covering wages, capital gains, interest on stock investments, veteran benefits, pensions and annuities, bonuses and prizes, and even lottery or gambling winnings. 

If one of the parents is self-employed, their income may be calculated by subtracting ordinary and necessary expenses from the business profits. Self-employed parents may also be required to pre-pay up to 6 months of child support for security.

Are there Any Deviations from the Guidelines?

Both parents may choose to set an amount of child support in their separation or divorce agreement. They may also decide to extend the length of time child support payments are made. They can also increase the amount of child support to cover additional expenses such as summer camp, travel plans, college, or private schooling. However, they can also choose to let the court decide on the amount of child support.

The courts seldom deviate from the Guidelines when deciding child support payments. In fact, they’ve also established certain criteria that will be used when deviations are necessary. For instance, it may be necessary to deviate from the Guidelines to protect the child’s best interests or if the circumstances mean that applying the Guidelines would be unjust. 

In general, however, deviations are uncommon and not easily obtainable. The parents would need a good lawyer by their side to help them argue that such deviations are indeed warranted.

Call a Colorado Child Support Attorney Today

If you have questions about the amount of child support you or your ex-spouse may be required to pay, it’s best to have an experienced and qualified family law attorney to help you with your case. They’ll help you protect your family’s interests and maximize the likelihood that you’ll get a more favorable outcome.

At Goldman Law, we always aim to protect the interests of our clients and help them make the right choices for their families. Call (602) 698-5520 to schedule confidential consultation.