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What are Some Common Questions about Child Support?

 

 

As the best child support lawyers in Gilbert AZ  we often get asked, “what are some common questions about child support?” I often meet with prospective clients who come in to my office. They’ve decided to get a divorce or the other spouse has decided to to move forward with divorce and one of the things that they are most worried about, and this is especially true for mothers, especially mothers who have stayed home and taken care of the children is, “How am I going to support myself and my children going forward?” I’ve seen many cases where parents will come in and just fear is written across their faces, wondering how they’re going to make ends meet and it’s a fair and and and very understandable concern to have. In Arizona when you have children, child support is one of the ways that that the law allows parents to share in the expenses of raising children. As a parent of four boys, I know how expensive kids are. They’re very expensive and the older they get the more expensive they get. So in Arizona, when parents get divorced, one of the things the court is always going to look at is child support. Child support in Arizona is relatively straightforward. We have a calculator that judges use to determine what child support is going to be, what the amount is gonna be, under the Arizona child support guidelines. And the guidelines are just a bunch of rules, I guess is what you would call them, to help courts understand how their supposed to determine child support.

In practice, there’s about four different factors that will go into the child support calculator to determine what child support going to be in any given case. Now, those those factors are going to vary from case to case, so I have a lot of people that come in and say, “Hey, what do you think the child support going to be in my case?” It’s really virtually impossible for us to tell you that until we actually get the numbers that we can put into the calculator and make the calculation. But to give you a little bit of guidance, here’s what a court’s going to look at. First and foremost, they’re going to look at the income of each parent. So a very typical scenario is; husband has been working for the entire marriage, he’s making a hundred and twenty, a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, and mom has stayed home with the kids and been a stay at home mom. Well, what what about mom? Do we assign her an income for purposes of child support? The answer that question is: yes, we do in most cases. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, but in most cases the court is still going to attribute to mother some sort of an income and most of the time, it’s minimum wage. The theory being that a parent can go out and at least get a minimum wage job, no matter what their work, history or education history is. So each parent’s income will be put into the calculator.

The next number that goes into the calculator is the cost of health insurance for the child or for the children. Whatever the cost of that health insurance is, that will go into the calculator on the side of the parent who’s paying it. So if a parent’s paying three hundred dollars a month for health insurance for the children, they will get kind of a credit on their side of the calculator. We also look at daycare costs. Daycare costs are kind of interesting because, obviously, in this day and age, if a parent’s got to work and they have young kids, they have to have some help and most of the time that means some sort of daycare. So whatever the cost of daycare is and whoever is paying for it, that cost will go in to that parents side. The next factor is parenting time. Now in other videos, I’ve talked about parenting time and as you may know, most courts favor 50/50 parenting time, but that’s not always the case. In cases where 50/50 is not going to be what the parenting time is, the court will put into the calculator the number of parenting days for the parent who has the fewest parenting days. So whichever parent has less than fifty percent, and we literally go through and we calculate based on the parenting plan, how many days that parent has the children in his or her home. Once these numbers go into the calculator it literally spits out an amount and under the Arizona child support guidelines, that is what child support is going to be in your particular case.

Now, does it have to always be that number? It doesn’t. There are some cases where the court can deviate from the guidelines, but the only way that a court can really deviate from the guidelines is if the parents agree to do something different then what the guidelines say it. So, for example, let’s say they do the calculation and it says three hundred dollars a month. Could the parties then agree that the father should pay six hundred dollars a month? The answer that question is absolutely. If the parties agree. If they don’t agree, it’s very unlikely that a court will do anything other than what the guidelines say child support should be, which is whatever the calculator says. The big fight in child support comes in dealing with the numbers that go into the calculator. So a very common situation that comes up and one that came up in a recent case that I had involved a situation where the husband was self employed. I represented the mother, we’ll call her name Holly. Holly had been married to her husband for ten years. They had three kids and she was a stay at home mom. Husband ran a business, and one of the big fights in child support is what do you put into a child support calculator for income for a person who doesn’t get a paycheck every two weeks? You can’t just look at a pay stub and figure out what they make, and so we had to go and get bank records, some business records, tax returns, other financial documents, and try to determine what father’s income was based on those documents. We were able to determine that based on all of those documents father made about a hundred and twenty five thousand dollars a year. With those numbers, we were able to do a child support calculation and Holly was able to get a pretty substantial amount of child support that I think took a big burden, a big stress, off of her shoulders. The other thing to keep in mind with child support is that it will last until the youngest child turns eighteen and graduates from high school. Now it can change, it can be modified as time goes by, because circumstances change, but child support is one of those things does stay in place for a period of time.

So child support is an issue that we deal with a lot and if you have questions about child support or if you’re going through a divorce and wonder what is the other spouse going to be paying me for child support, come down to the Law Offices of Kevin Jensen, meet with myself or our other attorney Brandon Yost, and we can sit down and talk to you about your particular case, give you some advice to help you get some peace of mind going into this next phase of your life.

For more videos answering common child support questions click here.

Jensen Family Law in Gilbert
4365 E Pecos Rd # 138,
Gilbert, AZ 85295
(480) 900-2302




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