It is generally simpler to file for divorce if there are no children involved. Otherwise, the divorcing parties must carefully consider the legal rights and best interest of the child. If you plan to get a divorce or have questions on the divorce procedure and related legal matters, a credible Arizona divorce and family law attorney can help. Child support issues must be taken very seriously.
An Overview of Paying Child Support
Like any other dissolution of marriage, a divorce petition will likely cover division of property, child custody, and possible child and spousal support. When filing for legal separation or getting divorced, both spouses must know that they must strictly follow relevant state law. Since divorce laws may vary from state to state, it is best to seek legal advice from a seasoned Arizona child support lawyer.
People who wish to establish paternity, establish child support, modify child support, and enforce child support orders usually proceed to the Department of Child Support Services. (Child custody issues brought to court are a different story entirely). However, it is essential to keep in mind that actual child support guidelines and relevant statutes may differ depending on the jurisdiction.
Child support is not considered taxable income under relevant tax law. This would mean that the parent receiving child support payments does not have to claim such an amount on their federal income tax return. Conversely, the parent paying child support may not deduct any amount of child support paid from their taxable income.
Determining the Amount of Child Support Payments
Child support enforcement is a joint effort of the federal and state government to help families obtain and enforce child support orders. In case circumstances change (such as the increased income of either parent, decreased ability to provide support, or additional needs of a child), modification of child support is a possibility.
Under relevant state law, every child is entitled to be supported until they reach the age of 18. If they are still in high school at this age, child support will continue until graduation, but not past their 19th birthday. Child support laws generally take into account the monthly income levels vis-a-vis expenses related to raising the child. Laws governing divorce cases help determine how much child support is to be allocated.
For payments for child support to be calculated, the family court looks into each parent’s income, the needs of the child, and the number of children in need of support. Online calculators are helpful when calculating child support payments, particularly in providing estimates. Since many other factors influence the actual child support order, it is essential to seek legal advice from hands-on Arizona family law attorneys.
The Use of Legal Calculators
While a child support calculator is essentially based on statutory guidelines, its nature is primarily informational. Extraordinary expenses are not considered, and other factors may affect the amount of child support awarded. Figures from a legal calculator are only an estimate and shall not be taken to guarantee the amount of child support awarded. It is still the court that has the final authority to determine the child support award amount.
To illustrate, however, the calculator will calculate child support payment based on the following:
- Gross monthly income of the custodial parent
- Amount of monthly child support or spousal support (alimony) paid to a spouse from a prior marriage of the custodial parent.
- Cost of family group health insurance paid by the custodial parent each month
- Gross monthly income of the non-custodial parent
- Amount of monthly child support or spousal support (alimony) paid to a spouse from a prior marriage of the non-custodial parent.
- Cost of family group health insurance paid by the non-custodial parent each month
- Cost of daycare paid by a custodial parent each month
To make use of the child support calculator, you must enter the appropriate information for each statement. Clicking the ‘Calculate’ button after the form is filled out will give one an estimate of the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent will have to pay to the custodial parent. Again, these are primarily educational.
Seeking legal help from a divorce and family law expert
The actual amount ordered by the court for a particular child support case could be different from the amount estimated by this calculator. Additionally, since these calculators assume that all children will primarily live with one parent, it may not be beneficial in split custody or joint physical custody cases.
Child support is considered the financial contribution of non-custodial parents to the raising and upbringing of the child, which is given to custodial parents. While child support expenses may seem straightforward (covering food, shelter, clothing, and medical care), how these are determined is not as simple as it looks. Contact our Arizona family law firm for assistance on child support cases. Call us at Dodds Law and consult with an experienced Arizona family law attorney.