When a couple with children gets divorced, child support will need to be paid to help with the care and maintenance of those children. In Arizona and other states, a child support calculator is used to determine the amount that a parent will have to pay. This is used to help ensure that the children have what they need and that the payments are fair. The calculator results are typically the same amount that a judge would determine.

Mediation Could Make Determining an Agreeable Child Support Number Easier

Cases that go through mediation will often try to get parents to determine how they want to pay support. Do they want to choose to use the amount generated by the calculator, or do they want to change the amount upwards or downwards based on what is best for their children? Mediation can be a good way to come up with a number for child support that is agreeable to both parties. However, it doesn’t always work. Additionally, those who are going through mediation should still have the advice of a family law attorney.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that cases where child support is involved will be easy. There are often cases that are litigated around child support for one reason or another. A parent might be hiding some of their income for example. They might do this so they have to pay less in child support, or so they can get more support.

How Does It Work?

In the state of Arizona, both the custodial and non-custodial parents are required to provide a reasonable amount of support to their minor children. The combined parents’ income is what helps to make this determination. The calculations in Arizona are standard and consistent and they are based on the same factors that apply to everyone.

When an ex is not paying child support, the other parent will want to have it enforced by the court. In Arizona, the obligation to pay child support is put ahead of any other financial obligations. If someone does not pay child support, they could spend time in jail.

There are a couple of ways that child support can be paid in Arizona. First, the money could be withheld from the income in the payer’s paycheck and then sent to the parent that is receiving the money. It is also possible for parents to agree to pay the child support without the intervention of the government. It’s common for money to be automatically deposited from the paying parent’s bank account to the receiving parent’s bank account.

When determining child support, the gross income of both parents will be considered. The gross income will include nearly any form of earning. Some examples of the types of earnings that are considered include salaries, wages, bonuses, dividends, commissions, severance pay, worker’s compensation benefits, Social Security benefits, and more.

In many cases, overtime will not be considered income. The court feels that people should be able to add some more hours to help make up the money they are paying in child support without increasing child support. However, there are some caveats to this. If they have been historically working this amount of overtime before they had to pay child support, there is a good chance that it will continue to be considered support. You can talk about this with your family law attorney to get a better idea of what is and is not considered income.

It’s also important to remember that just because you might be collecting child support from your ex, or paying the support, other types of support can still be collected. This includes spousal maintenance.

Is the Payment Amount Always the Same as What the Calculator Says?

There is a presumption that the child support determined by the calculator will be what the judge decrees needs to be paid. However, in some cases, the judge might diverge from the amount for one reason or another. If they find that the amount is not appropriate or that it is unjust, they may alter it. As mentioned, those who are going through mediation and who are coming to a mutual agreement on child support can alter the amount from what the calculator determines. Ultimately, it is about making sure that the children have enough support.

How Long Does Child Support Last?

Even though your kids will always be your kids, it doesn’t mean that you have to pay child support for them for the rest of their lives, of course. However, you do have to support them when they are growing up. When the last of the following events occurs, child support will end—the child turns 18, the child graduates from high school, or they turn 19 but have not graduated from high school.

This would mean that if you have a child that graduates high school when they are 17, you are still responsible for paying child support until they are 18. If the child turns 18 in January of their senior year, you are still responsible for paying support until the last day of the month in which they graduate.

Many Factors to Consider

Even though the calculator might make it seem like figuring out child support would be easy, that’s not the case. Many potential factors can play a role in determining how much is paid and each case can be somewhat different. Therefore, it’s not something that you will want to try to figure out on your own. Instead, you should make it a point to find and work with a good attorney from the beginning. The divorce lawyer can help you with all aspects of your case, including figuring out child support.

You love your children and you want to do right by them when it comes to the money being paid into support. However, you also want to make sure that it’s fair and that you will still have the capacity to live.