In Arizona, Child Support Guidelines have been created to establish a standard of support for children consistent with the reasonable needs of children and the ability of parents to pay. The Guidelines strive to make child support orders consistent for person in similar circumstances and set child support amounts based on the factors listed in A.R.S. § 25-320.
The Guidelines apply to all actions involving establishment of current or past child support or modification of child support. Absent specific deviation as outlined by section IV(A) of the Guidelines, a Court shall order the amount determined under the Guidelines.
The Arizona Child Support Guidelines are based on the financial resources and needs of the child and of each parent, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed in a two-parent household, and the allocation of parenting time, as contemplated by A.R.S. § 25-320(D).
The child support amount is primarily based on the adjusted gross incomes of the child’s parents as well as the amount of parenting time each parent receives with the minor children. The income of a parent's new spouse is not counted or included as income of the child’s parent.
The formula for adjusted gross income is not always so simply to determine. For instance, if a party is currently making less than in prior years, it may be argued that their adjusted gross income should be factored in accordance with their previous earning capacity even though they are currently making less. Moreover, but for a few unique situations, the State of Arizona has determined that a party to a support action is capable of making and will be attributed an amount equal to at least minimum even if that person is underemployed and/or unemployed.
Although in my opinion, adjusted gross income and parenting time are the main two factors in any child support calculation, one should be aware that various other factors may affect a calculated child support amount. A non exhaustive list of such items includes: court ordered spousal maintenance paid or received, court ordered child support paid or received in a separate domestic action, medical, dental, vision insurance premiums paid, child care costs, non common children supported by the parties without court order, extraordinary expenses for the common minor children, etc.
This is a very brief overview of the items used in factoring child support in Arizona. For more information on your specific situation or for help calculating child support as related to your specific matter, contact Ryan M. Reppucci at Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC today for your free consultation