Guidelines for joint custody child support in AZ are based on the Income Shares Model. This was developed in the 1980s with the goal of ensuring that a child has access to the same expenditure level that they’d have had if their parents had continued to live together and pool their financial resources.
What is Joint Custody
Joint custody often means that both parents share equally in taking physical custody of their children. In a case like that, it works out to the child spending approximately 182 days per year with each parent. However, in many situations, although the child spends significant time in the care of each parent, the time is not split equally.
Parenting Time and Calculations of Joint Custody Child Support in AZ
If each parent in a joint custody arrangement has approximately equal time with their child, adjustments for parenting time are usually not required. However, if parenting time is not shared equally, adjustments in the support payment amounts will have to be made to ensure that each parent shares fairly in the costs of raising their child.
Both Parents are Required to Share in Financially Supporting Their Children
Joint custody support guidelines take into account each parent’s income level, without regard to whether or not the parents were married to one another. If one parent has a higher standard of living, the child should also have access to that higher standard. On the other hand, even if one parent makes very little money, there is almost no scenario that justifies a parent having absolutely zero financial support obligation for their child.
If one parent has a higher income than the other, that parent will most likely be required to make child support payments to the lower-earning parent. Adjustments in the amount owed by the higher-earning parent will be made that take into account the following factors:
-children from other relationships that they are supporting
-spousal maintenance being paid
-health insurance premiums that they pay on behalf of the child
-child care costs incurred
-age of the child being supported (for example, if the child is 12 years of age or more, the support obligation for them will typically decrease)
The calculation of the amount of child support to be paid does not take into account whether or not the paying parent has debts or other financial commitments. Child support payments receive top priority.
The parent who receives child support payments is not required to prove to the paying parent how they are using the money to benefit their child.
Generally speaking, child support payments will continue until the child being supported reaches age 18 or graduates from high school (but will not continue past age 19). Exceptions may be made for children with special needs.
Changes to child support orders cannot be made without a court order. If you want to make a change, allow at least 60 days for the request to work its way through the system. Processing times may change, however, so if timing is of the utmost importance, confirm the current situation when making decisions about when to start the process.
Joint Custody Child Support in AZ
Arizona’s joint custody child support guidelines are designed to maximize the odds of a fair outcome for parents and their children. If your situation isn’t complicated and you’d like to avoid the high expense of hiring a lawyer to represent you, consider getting the help of a legal document preparer for completing all the required paperwork.