Overview of Arizona Child Support Laws

In Arizona, the parents can agree to an amount of child support upon the approval of a judge. If the custodial and noncustodial parent cannot settle on child support payment, then the judge uses a formula to determine how much a parent should pay child support. 

Typically, one parent is obligated to make monthly payments to the other party until the child reaches the age of 18 and graduates high school. Gender is not a factor when determining which parent pays for child support. Usually, it would be the parent with less parenting time. The child support payment ends if they turn 19 before graduation. It is possible for the judge to extend payments, typically if the kid has special needs or extraordinary medical assistance. 

Note that child support is for the best interest of the children. Parents cannot deny parental rights, paternity, or maternity of the child to avoid paying, nor can they just choose to forfeit child support. Even if the parent does not have physical custody or legal custody of the child or even if they remarry, they cannot neglect child support. 

If you need help with your child support case, talk to an experienced Surprise, AZ child support attorney. Avoid trouble with the child support office by consulting with us for any clarifications and concerns.  

Child Support Calculation

Arizona Child SupportThe formula for child support in AZ accounts for various factors, including:

  • Each parent’s earned income;
  • Each parent’s contribution to education, child care, and health insurance;
  • Age of each child
  • Number of children
  • Parenting time
  • Travel between each parent’s place, if they reside more than 100 miles apart. 

If you’re unsure of how to calculate child support, talk to our Arizona family law attorneys to ensure you’re paying the amount owed correctly! If you don’t know how much your child support payments are, it may get you in trouble with the child support agency. Call our family law office now! 

Division of Child Support Services

Child support orders are enforced and established by the court with the help of The Division of Child Support Services (DCSS).

When an unmarried parent with no child support order files for public assistance, or when a financially needy parent who receives public assistance files for divorce, then DCSS automatically opens a case.

Additionally, unmarried parents can choose to go to DCSS to obtain a child support order, no matter if they’re not getting public assistance. However, DCSS can’t do parenting time, visitation rights, legal-decision making, nor establishing paternity. Unmarried parents who need these services must go through family court.

Child Support Enforcement

Withholding child support is a serious matter. If a parent fails to provide child support payments, then the receiving party can ask the court or DCSS to help in enforcing the order. Both these entities can garnish or withhold wages, place liens on the property, confiscate passports, suspend licenses, or intercept tax refunds. Only the court can order jail time and fines for failure to pay child support. 

Usually, parents go through DCSS to enforce the court order for child support. The DCSS can refer the case to court if needed for enforcing child support.  

Modification of Child Support

It’s possible to change the terms of child support if there have been substantial changes or permanent changes to the family’s circumstances, such as a change in residence or a loss of income. Parents can ask either the court or DCSS to modify the terms in these cases. 

If neither parent objects and the payment changes by at least 15% according to the formula in the state law, then the modifications are automatically approved.

However, if there’s not a 15% change in the payments made or if one parent objects, then the judge steps in to decide in these child support cases. 

Parents can request a modification if the children turn 12 or are no longer covered by child support. 

Final Thoughts

Matters involving family law, divorce, child custody & support in Arizona are tough on parents, children, and families in general. We take a caring & compassionate approach to these types of cases. We’ll hold your hand through the tough parts, stand up for you when you can’t, and fight for what is right from day one. Contact us now to speak to an experienced Surprise family law attorney.