Child Support

In Arizona, child support is calculated pursuant to a state-wide formula which uses the gross income of the parties as a starting point. Spousal maintenance recipients are required to include their spousal maintenance as a part of their gross income, while those who pay spousal maintenance may deduct those payments from their gross income. Other factors include the number of children common to the parties, their ages, the cost of medical insurance for the children, the cost of daycare and the number of parenting time days awarded to the non-custodial parent. Children from prior and subsequent relationships are also taken into account. The numbers are then run pursuant to a pre-determined formula adopted by the Arizona Supreme Court. In almost all cases, child support is collected pursuant to a Wage Assignment which requires employers to garnish the monthly child support sum directly from the payor’s paycheck and forward these sums to the Child Support Clearinghouse located in Phoenix. The amount of child support changes as children reach the age of majority or are otherwise emancipated, the parties change jobs or receive wage increases or decreases or other substantial and continuing changes in circumstances occur. In order to have a superseding child support order entered, one may file pursuant to the Simplified Guidelines or may file a more formal Post Dissolution Order to Appear Petition in the Superior Court.

If a payer has not paid his or her child support as required and thirty days have passed, the payee may file a Post-Dissolution Order to Appear Petition in order to force the delinquent party to pay as previously directed. The Court will calculate the arrearage and enter a Judgment in that amount against the offending party. This Judgment can be collected by placing a lien against property owned by the non-paying party, garnishing his or her wages or bank accounts or having the Judge order that the arrearages be satisfied monthly pursuant to a pre-set payment schedule. Additional collection methods include garnishing state and federal tax returns, suspension of drivers or other professional licenses or even jail or fines, if appropriate.