Calculating Child Support
Many people think that child support is a straightforward calculation. However, there is a lot argument to be had in choosing the numbers to use in the calculation.
Necessary NumbersTo calculate child support, you are going to need figures for the following:
o Both parties' incomes
o Spousal maintenance (if applicable)
o Support of other children
o Insurance costs just for the child/ren
o Childcare costs
o Extra education expenses
o Extraordinary child expenses
o Number of parenting time days
Determining IncomeThe first factor considered in the child support calculation is each party's income. Generally, the court will attribute at least minimum wage, even if a party is not working. If a party is not working, the court can attribute that person's earning ability. So, if you are capable of earning $60,000 a year, the court can attribute that amount even if you are not working. The court can choose to include overtime pay in your income and may do so depending on how regularly you earn overtime pay.
Determining Parenting Time DaysThe number of parenting time days really affects the child support obligation. The court gives a credit to the non-residential parent for the time he or she spends with the child. The court reasons that during this time the non-residential parent is incurring the costs of caring for the child. The Child Support Guidelines clearly outline how to calculate parenting time days:
o 12 hours or more counts as 1 day
o 6 to 11 hours counts as 1/2 day
o 3 to 5 hours counts as 1/4 day
o Less than three may count as a 1/4 day if a routine expense, like a meal, was incurred
Extra Education or Extraordinary ExpensesThe court can account for extra education or extraordinary expenses in the child support calculation. Extra education expenses include "any reasonable and necessary expenses for attending private or special schools or necessary expenses to meet particulate education needs of a child." A.R.S. 25-320(9)(B)(2). It is important to note that these expenses must be agreed upon by both parties. Extraordinary expenses are those expenses needed to care for a gifted or handicapped child.
What's Your Next StepIf you are interested in learning more about Arizona's Child Support Guidelines or if you have other questions or concerns about a family law matter, please contact The Law Office of Keith A. Singer or call 520.795.1800.