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Understanding Arizona's child support guidelines

Arizona parents may be interested in how courts determine the amount of child support that a non-custodial parent must pay. This formula takes into account income and other factors to make the determination.

In the state of Arizona, there is an established system for determining the amount of child support a non-custodial parent must pay. This system is known as the Income Shares Model, which estimates the amount a parent would have contributed toward the child if they had they all lived together. Generally, child support obligations last until the youngest child reaches the age of 18. There may be exceptions, such as when a child is not expected to graduate high school by 18.

One very important factor in determining the monthly payments is income. The state determines a person's income by looking at various factors. These include the total income derived from any source, including wages, investments and other benefits. In cases where a parent is disabled, either mentally or physically, or is enrolled in a training program in order to enhance their earning capacity, the court may not attribute their income. Customarily, a court would not attribute any additional income if it would require the parent to have an extraordinary work regimen in order to make the payments.

This income is then applied to a formula, along with other factors, to determine the appropriate monthly payments. An attorney may be able to assist a parent throughout the process, including assessing his or her financial situation and helping to estimate the potential child support obligations. The attorney may also be able to help negotiate a support agreement that is fair to both parents.

Source: Arizona Judicial Branch, "Arizona Child Support Guidelines", August 12, 2014

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