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Child support payments in Arizona: Commonly asked questions

There are a number of factors that may determine the child support payments one parent owes another in Arizona.

In Arizona, both parents of a child are legally responsible for the child’s basic needs. In many cases, this means that one parent makes child support payments to another parent. For the most part, these payments are made from a noncustodial parent to a custodial one, though state law notes that there are cases in which custodial parents make payments to noncustodial parents.

While there is a set formula for determining how much these payments are, not every case strictly abides by those guidelines. Here, we take a look at some commonly asked questions regarding Arizona’s policies:

How do I obtain child support?

Either parent may file paperwork with the Arizona Division of Child Support Services. In cases in which a child’s father has not yet been legally established, it will be necessary to also file a paternity suit. In Arizona, paternity may only be established for legal purposes up to the time that a child turns 18.

The application requires the noncustodial parent’s Social Security number, the child’s birth certificate and the name and address of the noncustodial parent’s employer. It may also be necessary to provide a court order that solidifies paternity and any other legal documents pertaining to the case.

How much will I have to pay?

In July 2015, new child support payment guidelines went into effect. The basic support payments take into account each parent’s monthly gross income. From there, the formula assesses how much time each parent spends with the child. Other costs factored into payments include the following:

· Health, dental and vision insurance

· Costs of medical care insurance does not cover

· Child care expenses

A judge may also consider any education expenses as well as extraordinary expenses, such as costs associated with a child who has special needs.

How long must I pay child support?

Arizona law states that child support payments must be made until the last day of the month associated with the child’s 18th birthday. If, at that time, the child is still in high school, child support payments must be made until either the child graduates or the child turns 19. If the child is disabled, the court may order payments to continue pas this time.

It should be noted that support payments in some form may continue in cases in which a divorce agreement included a clause regarding post-secondary education. It may also be possible to modify an existing child support order to add this information.

How can I modify a support order?

Either parent is able to request a modification to a support order. However, in order for the change to take place, there must have been a substantial change in circumstances. A disability, job loss or change in health insurance, for example, may necessitate a change. Parents may file the appropriate paperwork with the Arizona Division of Child Support Services.

Anyone who has questions about this topic should speak with a family law attorney in Arizona.