Scottsdale Child Support Attorney
If you are a parent in Scottsdale or any other area of Arizona, you are required under law to provide for your child financially. Usually, parents who are married fulfill this obligation jointly, providing a child with food, shelter, clothing, and meeting other basic financial (and psychological) needs. When parents are not living together, though, how much each parent should contribute to a child’s upbringing can become more complicated.
Arizona law requires both parents of a child – custodial and noncustodial – to provide a reasonable level of support for their child. In order to determine what is “reasonable,” the state of Arizona has adopted Child Support Guidelines, the purpose of which are to help parents provide the child the level of support that they would if parents were living together.
How Much Will I Owe in Child Support?
If you are the noncustodial parent of a child, our Scottsdale child support attorney can help you to figure out how much you may owe in child support. Remember, child support is not optional; you are required to contribute to your child’s financial wellbeing.
Child support is calculated via the Child Support Guidelines, although deviations from the guidelines may occur when certain factors are weighed. The Child Support Guidelines use a Schedule of Basic Support Obligations – the more money that parents make, and the more children they have, the more that is expected in child support. For example, parents with a combined gross income of only $700 per month and only one child are expected to provide $167 per month for that child (this amount will then be divided in proportion to each party’s income). On the other hand, parents who make a combined gross income of $5,000 per month and have two children are expected to provide $1,084 for those children (again, the $1,084 is split proportionate to each party’s income). For example, if one party earned 60 percent of the $5,000, or $3,000, they would be responsible for 60 percent of the child support obligation of $1,084, or $650.40.
But these guidelines themselves are not binding; the court may also consider factors such as costs of health insurance, costs of childcare or education, a child’s extraordinary medical needs, spousal maintenance payments, and the amount of time the child spends with each parent in making a child support determination.
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Can a Child Support Order Be Changed?
One question that many parents have is whether or not a child support order can be modified after it is enacted. Changing a support order may be possible when:
- A child custody arrangement changes – for example, the child now lives with you rather than their other parent;
- The child undergoes a significant change in circumstance, such as developing a health condition or disability;
- Your income or the income of your child’s other parent changes drastically; or
- There has been a change in the costs of healthcare, childcare, or other expenses related to the child.
You may also request a modification of a support order if more than three years have elapsed since the order was enacted. However, remember that in order to actually receive a modification from the court, you will need to prove that circumstances justify the modification.
Your Obligation to Pay Child Support
Many parents do not understand that they have a legal obligation to make their child support payments, and that if they fail to do so, they can be held in contempt of court for violating a court order. Even if you lose your job or something else changes, you cannot stop making your child support payments unless a court grants you the right to do so/modifies your payment amount. If you do not pay child support, the Division of Child Support Services can take action against you, including wage garnishment, tax return garnishment, license suspension, and more.
Our Attorneys Are Here to Help
Our Scottsdale child support attorney at the firm of Modern Law, PLLC can help you to understand child support laws in Arizona, your support obligation, how much you may have to pay, and what to do if you are unable to make a payment. If you are the recipient of child support or need to file a request for child support, we can also guide you through the legal system, and help you to enforce an unpaid child support order.
To schedule your initial consultation with our Scottsdale child support attorney, please call us today or fill out the form on our website. You can also text us anytime, day or night – we are here to work for you.