Arizona’s Top Family Law Attorney in Child Support Cases
Child support can be a contentious topic among parents who part ways. Whether you need to create a new child support agreement or modify an original one, Bryson Law can ease the tension and help to ensure the process is done correctly. We are proud to work one-on-one with parents from all backgrounds and help them to determine what a comprehensive agreement looks like. Brent Bryson will advocate for your rights and help you through the family court process every step of the way.
Bryson Law Will Advocate On Your Behalf To Create A Fair Child Support Agreement
Child support does not inherently cover every cost associated with raising a child. Parents and judges can make discretionary decisions, including who will pay for the child’s health insurance, vacations, cellphone bill, and extracurricular activities. It is important to maintain a balance between both parents’ financial obligations. Brent Bryson can work with you, your child’s other parent and the courts to ensure that both parties come to an equitable agreement.
Child Support Frequently Asked Questions
Would you like to learn more about how child support works in Arizona? If so, you will find all the information you need in the following FAQs.
What Does Child Support Cover?
There are many misconceptions about what child support does and does not cover. Every child support order varies based on custody rights and each parent’s financial ability to support their children. In general, however, child support covers expenses related to:
- Medical care
- Food and shelter
- Child care
Child support is calculated based on both parties’ income, the number of children involved, and the costs of expenses such as health insurance and dental and vision care. Other factors will be considered such as parenting time, modifications, relocations, paternity, and if the child has special needs. To learn more about how child support payments are determined, you can use Arizona’s child support calculator.
In Arizona, do I have to pay child support if I have 50/50 custody?
When deciding how much (if any) child support a parent must pay, Arizona courts have a duty to put the best interests of the children first. As a result of this obligation, courts may rule that you need to pay child support even if you have 50/50 custody. Should this occur, however, your payments will likely be minimal.
If you would like to learn more about the amount of child support you will have to pay, please get in touch with the Bryson Law Firm, today. Our team will be more than happy to review your situation and provide you with the information you need to know.
How is child support calculated in Arizona?
To calculate the amount of child support parents must pay, Arizona courts consider a wide range of factors, such as:
- The income of both parents
- The number of children who require support
- The age of the children
- The amount of time each parent spends with the children
- The cost of additional childcare
- The cost of health insurance and medical care for the children
Courts in Arizona aim to provide each parent with the finances they need to provide “reasonable support” to their children. Child support must be paid in the form of cash. Payments may go directly from one parent to the other or by income withholding order through the Arizona Child Support Clearinghouse.
Is child support based on gross income?
Child support in Arizona is based on the gross income of both parents. Gross income includes:
- Wages and salaries
- Severance pay
- Social Security benefits
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Recurring gifts
Courts in Arizona do not usually consider overtime or seasonal work to be “gross income.” They consistently rule that parents should have the right to work additional hours or take on a second job without increasing child support.
Generally speaking, Arizona judges only classify money earned through overtime and seasonal work as “gross income” when it is “historically earned” and is expected to continue in the future.
What percentage of my paycheck will go to child support?
The percentage of your paycheck that will go to child support depends on factors like your gross income, the number of children you have, and the amount of time you spend with your children. If you only have one child, and you agree to 50/50 custody, your support payments will probably be quite small. You can usually expect them to be less than 15% of your paycheck.
On the other hand, if you have three or four children, and intend to leave the vast majority of the parenting to your former partner, your support payments will be much higher. They may account for more than 35% of your paycheck.
To have an experienced family law attorney review your situation and let you know how much of your paycheck is likely to go to child support, please contact the Bryson Law Firm, today.
Do I have to pay tax on the child support I receive?
According to the IRS, child support payments are “neither deductible by the payer nor taxable to the recipient.” This means you do not need to pay federal taxes on child support you receive, no matter which income tax bracket you fall into. The Arizona tax code contains similar language, which means you also do not need to pay state income tax on child support payments you receive from your former partner. It is always advisable to consult with your tax advisor to discuss your specific situation.
Can parents agree to no child support in Arizona?
It is possible for Arizona parents to agree to no child support. However, they may only enter into such an agreement if it will not harm the child. Section 25-501 of the Arizona Revised Statutes explains that parents have a duty to provide “all reasonable support” for their children. If the court believes an agreement to forego child support might prevent parents from complying with this law, it can void the deal and insist that one party pays child support to the other.
At what age does child support end in Arizona?
In the state of Arizona, child support typically ends when the child graduates from high school. However, if the child graduates from high school when they are 17 or younger, child support will continue until their 18th birthday.
Should the child fail to graduate from high school, child support payments end on the last day of the month of their 19th birthday. Balances owed on child support cases can still be collected once the emancipation date passes.
Do I still have to pay child support if I lose my job?
According to Arizona law, you are still required to make your child support payments in full if you lose your job. Should you fail to do so, you may face the following consequences:
- Income Withholding: The Arizona Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) has the power to withhold a portion of your pay if you fail to make child support payments.
- Interest: You can be charged interest on overdue child support payments.
- Asset Seizure: The state of Arizona can seize your bank accounts and other property if you owe more than 12 months of child support payments. License Suspensions: If you owe more than six months of child support, the DCSS can suspend your professional licenses.
- Tax Refund Intercepts: The DCSS can take your state income tax refund if you owe more than $50 in child support.
- Jail Time: You may be found guilty of a crime known as “failure of parent to provide for the child” if you continually fail to make your child support payments. This offense carries a prison sentence of up to 18 months.
If you have recently lost your job and believe you won’t be able to make your child support payments, please reach out to Bryson Law, as soon as you can. Brent Bryson is an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate your specific situation.
How can I reduce my child support payments?
You can request a modification of your existing child support order if there has been a significant and continuing change in your circumstances, such as:
- A decrease in salary
- The acquisition of a disability
- A change in your health insurance coverage
- A change in your custody agreement
To start the process, you must mail a completed Request for Modification Review to the Division of Child Support Services. They will only authorize a modification if it would change your current support order by at least 15% or $50 per month - whichever is less. Before filing a modification request, you should be aware that a review may result in an increase or a decrease in your child support payments.
Does a new partner’s income affect child support in Arizona?
In Arizona, a new partner’s income does not typically affect child support. That’s because courts primarily focus on the child’s needs, not the parents’ living situations when awarding child support. There are, however, some exceptions to this general rule. For example, if your partner’s income allows you to reduce your working hours and spend more time with your kids, you might be able to successfully petition for a reduction in your child support payments.
Contact An Experienced Arizona Family Law Attorney
Navigating a divorce, child support, alimony, and child custody is a challenging task for any parent. However, with the proper legal advice and representation, you and your former spouse can come to an amicable arrangement. At Bryson Law, we put your family’s best interests first and will advocate for a suitable agreement for your situation. If you are looking for legal advice regarding child support, contact Brent Bryson today via email or by calling 480-813-0444.