Raising kids is an expensive proposition, and Arizona courts recognize that it usually requires two parents’ earnings to make it happen comfortably. That’s why, even though Arizona courts prefer to keep both parents equally involved in the child’s life, they also recognize that earning differences, parenting time differences, and who is paying the expenses may create the need for child support payments. Here is a basic breakdown of how child support usually works in Arizona.
When One Parent Is the Primary Caregiver
Arizona courts will order child support when one parent is the primary caregiver, meaning that they have more parenting time with the child. The courts prefer decision-making abilities shared equally between the parents, but that doesn’t always mean parenting time is split equally. Regardless of parenting time, both parents share the financial responsibility to raise their children.
Arizona child support is based on gross income to ensure both parents pay proportionate amounts toward the raising of their child. Court ordered child support increases at age 12, and will also establish whose responsibility it is to carry health insurance coverage or to cover extra expenses, such as education. The amount of parenting time the primary caregiver has will also play a factor. Download our child support calculator to get a better idea of what child support would be owed in your situation.
Adjustments for Equal Parenting Time
As mentioned before, the courts prefer to share parental responsibilities equally between both parties, in order to better support the child’s need for relationships with both parents. This means that if it’s practical and feasible in your situation, you and your former partner may share parenting time fairly equally, or as equally as is reasonable.
Shared parenting time doesn’t mean no child support, however. If one parent’s income is higher than the other, they will still be responsible for some child support to make the expenses more equitable. In this case, the child support owed is usually the difference between each parent’s total responsibility. For instance, if one parent would normally owe $500 in child support, and the other would normally owe $300, then the parent with the higher amount would pay the difference of $200.
Navigating child support calculations adds another level of complication to the custody battle and the overall divorce. Arizona courts do try to make decisions that are in the best interests of children, but it’s important to present a strong case for your interpretation of your child’s best interests, especially in cases that aren’t so clear cut. For instance, in cases where a child might have more expenses than usual, it’s important to present to the courts a strong case so that they may make an informed decision. For more explanation of Arizona child support laws or to schedule a consultation with us, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.