Child Support

Both parents have a duty to support their children regardless of which parent has custody. Arizona uses an income sharing model, so that each parent provides for the children in accordance with his or her ability to pay.

Arizona uses a formula for determining child support. Software to calculate that obligation can be found at http://www.azcourts.gov/familylaw/ArizonaChildSupportGuidelines.aspx. The following information must be available in order to calculate support:

  • gross monthly income of each parent;
  • each parent's obligation, if any, to pay support for children other than those of the marriage;
  • amount of spousal maintenance paid, if any;
  • number of children for whom support will be paid and the ages of each child;
  • amount paid for health, dental and vision coverage for the children and which parent will pay it;
  • number of parenting time days the parent paying support will exercise.

Nearly all forms of income are considered income for child support purposes. Need-based public assistance does not qualify. When income is seasonal or varies from year to year, it will be necessary to arrive at an average income. Overtime may be included or excluded for child support purposes, depending on overall circumstances.

Child support can be modified if there has been a change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing. This might include a permanent increase or decrease in income or an increase or decrease in certain costs for a child, such as daycare. The court will also apportion the tax dependency exemption(s) and those recurring costs that are not covered by child support, such as medical, dental, orthodontia, vision or psychological services that are not paid by insurance.

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