Child support is always a major issue of contention during the separation process. If the couple is going through a divorce in Arizona, then all martial issues will be resolved during the divorce proceedings. But if the couple was not married in the first place, then the custodial parent must file a proceeding with the Division of Child Support Services to obtain child support.
To get a clear picture of how much child support is, one must first figure out how a judge calculates child support. Afterwards, the parents can adjust the amount for their special circumstances. An attorney will be helpful for this process because they are familiar with how the judge tends to calculate the support.
The factors to determine the amount of child support owed are:
- The financial needs of the child, including education and nutrition
- The financial resources of the custodial parent and non-custodial parent
- The standard of living the child is accustomed to during the parents’ marriage
- The physical and mental health of the child
- The time the child spends with the custodial parent
- The amount of financial resources the custodial parent contributes to the child
- Whether there was any concealment of finances during the parents’ marriage
Generally, the non-custodial parent must pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18, unless the child is still in high school. For those cases, the non-custodial parent is obligated to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 19.
However, if the child is a special needs or disabled child, and the child cannot support himself upon reaching the age of majority, then the non-custodial parent must pay child support indefinitely. For those cases, the child support amount can be modified when the circumstances change or every 3 years, as prescribed by the court.
Either parent can file a petition with the court to change the child support payments. Generally, child support payments change when there is a change in the income of either parent or when there are additional costs encountered by the child. For example, if a parent lost his job or if the child has developed a medical condition that requires a lengthy treatment plan, then the parent can request a change in the child support order.
Yes, Arizona does have a retroactive child support law. Nonetheless, this retroactive child support has a statute of limitation of three years. This mean that the custodial parent can only get back child support for three years prior to her court filing. An exception does apply where the court finds a reason to expand that three year period.
If you are seeking child support or if you received a child support court summons, then you should consider hiring an Arizona family law attorney. This attorney can help you determine what you are owed or help you figure out what you should owed. Either custodial or non-custodial should not be bullied by the other parent’s attorney, only to later find out that the child support amount is unfair to him.