Child Support

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How Is Child Support Determined?


The State of Arizona uses Guidelines for purposes of determining child support (check on:, a link to the Guidelines). The Guidelines are based on the income or earning capacity of each parent, the parenting time schedule, the cost of insurance, and a number of other factors.

The Guidelines are intended to reduce the need to litigate child support issues and to promote uniformity in support orders. While the Guidelines generally are mandatory in nature, there are a number of issues that arise in child support cases. These issues include: how to calculate the income of a self-employed parent; how bonuses and non-monetary benefits are calculated; concealment of income; the effect of underemployment; income from second job; and from over-time; income from investments; regular gifts of money; trust payments; payment of expenses by third parties; whether there are children from previous or subsequent marriages; etc. Also, your child may have special needs that require an adjustment to the Guideline calculations.

Although the Guidelines were intended to decrease the need to litigate child support issues, such issues are one of the most litigated issues in family law cases. Parents often try to avoid their fair share of support. Also, some parents try to increase child support as high as possible – not to benefit the child – but to provide excess income for the custodial parent. As such, it is vitally important to investigate child support issues thoroughly.

Your child’s welfare and lifestyle may depend greatly on the amount of child support you pay or receive. It is essential to have an experienced attorney review your child support case, even though there are Guidelines.


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