Phoenix Child Support
Phoenix Child Support Help
Dealing with child custody issues can be stressful and contentious, causing a lot of disagreements between parents in many cases. Child support is a right of minor children, and the courts will decide exactly how much of that right they are entitled to when parents separate or divorce. Several factors are involved in determining the support amount and whether that will change over time, making these cases complex and sometimes difficult to get through.
Parents can, and should, try to agree on child support arrangements, including how much is paid. However, the courts will ultimately decide whether the arrangement is fair or in the child’s best interests. And in many cases, parents can’t agree on anything, let alone things like child custody and support. Fortunately, you can hire a dedicated Phoenix child support lawyer from Modern Law to help you through the process.
What is Child Support?
Child support is a payment that is designed to support the lifestyle of the minor child. The money is designated to help with the costs of living, including things like clothing, school, school supplies, necessities, etc. In some cases where the custodial parent earns less, child support may be awarded to help the child maintain their standard of living from before the divorce.
Understanding child support and how it works in Arizona can help you get a better outcome in your case.
How is Child Support Calculated?
There are several factors that impact child support payment amounts. Arizona has a simple calculator that helps streamline the process, but judges will typically consider things like:
- Both parents’ income
- The number of shared children the parents have
- The parenting time agreement
- Money paid for things like health insurance and healthcare
- Medical needs or other essential needs
- Childcare costs
- Educational expenses
- Dental care and dental insurance
- Special needs for minor children
- Payments related to joint debts
- Transportation costs
- Pre-existing support orders for older children
- Whether there are six or more children
If parents can agree on a child support amount, the court may approve it without question. You can even agree to pay support past the date of legal adulthood for any reason, as well as support payments related to private school, college, enrichment activities, and even travel. The court will have the ultimate determination, but when the parents are in agreement, the court tends to side with them.
Is Child Support Paid Forever?
Unless otherwise outlined in the court ruling, most child support payments continue until the minor child is 18 years of age. The exception is that if they are still in school, the support will continue until they graduate, or reach age 19, depending on which happens first.
Another exception could be when the child is disabled or determined to be unable to care for themselves as an adult, in which case support payments could be ordered to continue for the foreseeable future, or even for the duration of the child’s life in some cases. These cases require a lot more involvement and scrutiny from the family courts, so you’ll definitely want to have a Phoenix child support or family lawyer on your side to help get the best outcome.
As mentioned above, you can agree to continue support payments after the children turn 18 for any number of reasons. Typically, courts won’t order against what the parents agree on if they have made an arrangement that is reasonable and works for them (and the best interests of the child).
Child Support Modifications
In the event that a parent has a change in income or another circumstance changes, parents can file a child support medication order. This will involve a court hearing to discuss the changes that have taken place and how the parent(s) wish to modify child support based on those changes.
If you are interested in a child support modification, you should discuss your needs with a Phoenix child support lawyer so that you can file properly and make sure that your case is carefully reviewed by a family court judge.
Can I Dispute a Child Support Order?
In some cases, either parent may not agree with what the court determined to be effective as a child support payment, either because of the amount or the schedule of payments. In that case, they can file a petition to modify the order as mentioned above. Reasonable evidence will need to be provided to explain why the court order is not a good solution and parties should be ready to discuss an alternative arrangement that the court can approve if they deem it to be fair.
Ultimately, what the court says usually goes. There are few situations where people get what they think is an “unfair” child support settlement and they actually get the court to change their minds. Just because you don’t like the arrangement doesn’t mean it isn’t fair. Remember, the courts don’t care about the parents as much here—they’re looking out for the kids.
Don’t Let Phoenix Child Support Cases Get Out of Hand
The legal process that is family law can be exhausting and difficult to navigate, even for the most prepared parents. It’s important to understand the laws and get the help of qualified experts to ensure that you get an outcome that is in the best interests of your children and fair for those involved. Child support is a big issue in any divorce or separation, and it needs to be treated as such.
Don’t feel pressured to go into this without legal representation. Even if you and the other parent have an amicable relationship, the family law process can change quickly and when it comes to things like what happens with the kids, parents tend to get more defensive in situations like this.
If you are dealing with a child support case in Phoenix or Maricopa County, talk to the Modern Law team today. We can discuss the details of your case and help you get the best outcome for all parties.