Arizona Child Support and Recent Revisions to the Guidelines

Arizona uses guidelines to determine appropriate child support.  The guidelines base the amount of child support entered on:

  • Both parties’ incomes or attributed incomes (the Court can attribute income if a parent could earn more than he/she is earning);
  • Whether either parent is paying or receiving spousal maintenance to/from the other;
  • Whether either parent has other children;
  • The number of children;
  • The number of children over age 12;
  • The cost of health insurance premiums for the children, and who pays for it;
  • The amount of daycare, extra education and extraordinary child expenses and who pays those expenses; and
  • The parental access schedule.

The Court may enter an amount different than the guidelines require, under certain circumstances.

Arizona has approved revised child support guidelines.  These guidelines apply to all child support orders entered after May 31, 2011.  The revised guidelines raise the base amount of child support.  The revised guidelines also increase the self support reserve from $775.00 to $903.00.  This means that a parent has to have at least $903.00 per month in actual or attributed income to support him or herself before having to pay support.  The revised guidelines also list a “significant disparity of income” as a basis to deviate from the guidelines.  A copy of the revised guidelines can be found at: www.azcourts.gov/Portals/22/admorder/Orders10/2010-116.pdf.

Parties can initiate or modify child support either by filing the appropriate documents with the Superior Court, or by initiating the process through mediation.  Mediation is a process whereby parents use a neutral party (a mediator) to help the parents come to binding agreements and submit the appropriate documentation to the Court.  Mediating child support issues has the benefit of reducing the cost, stress, time and animosity usually connected with a contentious Court Action.  The parties have more flexibility when they mediate the issue of child support, as they can agree to appropriate deviations.  Courts have the authority to approve agreed to deviations where the agreement is in writing (as it would be in mediation), the parties knew what child support would be under the guidelines, and the parties entered the agreement free of duress and coercion.

Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona@sglawaz.com.  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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Alona M. Gottfried, Esq.
8160 E Butherus Dr, Suite #7 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: (480) 776-8271