How is Child Support Determined?
In Arizona, child support is determined based on the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. The current Arizona Child Support Guidelines follow the Income Shares Model, which takes into consideration the income of both parents and allows for the children to be supported at the same level as when the parents and child were living together. Each parent contributes his/her proportionate share of the total child support amount. Typically, the non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay the custodial parent a set percentage of his/her income each month.
The Court uses numerous factors to determine the appropriate amount of child support, including the child’s financial needs and resources, the parents’ financial needs and resources, the standard of living the child was accustomed to, and the reasonable needs of the child for health, maintenance and education.
Child Support Duration
Unless a child is disabled, the obligation to pay child support stops once a child turns 18 and is out of high school. If the child is still in high school after the age of 18, the child support stops when the child turns 19.
Can I Modify the Amount I am Paying/Receiving?
You can request a modification of child support if changed circumstances cause the amount of child support that you pay or receive to increase or decrease by 15%. You can also ask for a modification of child support every three years, regardless of the amount of increase or decrease in payment. Parents cannot act independently to change child support; they must petition the court.
Enforcing Child Support
Parents must pay their child support obligations. Those who do not pay may face contempt proceedings, wage garnishment, fines or even jail time. If you need to enforce a Court Order for child support or enforce child support arrears, there are several options for you.
You can file an Expedited Request to Enforce through the court’s self-service center for a nominal fee; you can ask the Department of Economic Security, Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to assist you (Customer Service Hot Line number: 602-252-4045); or you can seek advice from a lawyer. Onisile Law Firm is ready to help you resolve child support issues, as well as file Petitions to Modify Child Support or Petitions to Enforce.