How is Child Support Calculated in Arizona

In Arizona, child support is

calculated pursuant to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.  The Guidelines can be found on line at:  The Guidelines are intended to approximate:  “the amount that would have been spent on the children if the parents and children were living together.”  The Guidelines then determine each parent’s proportionate share.
In a nutshell, Arizona looks at the following factors to determine child support:
•    both parents’ incomes
•    whether either parent is supporting another natural or adopted child
•    whether either parent is paying or receiving spousal maintenance
•    the number of children at issue
•    the number of children over 12
•    the cost of health insurance for the children, and which parent is paying that cost
•    the cost of day care, and which parent is paying the cost
•    the cost of extra-education or extraordinary expenses for a child, and which parent is paying the cost
•    the amount of days the parents have parental access with the children.
The parents can ask the Court to deviate from the child support amount dictated by the Guidelines, where there is good cause.
Child support is generally calculated in a divorce or separation action involving children or a paternity action (when the parents are not married).  The Arizona Courts allow people to modify the support amount whenever there has been a change in circumstances (a reduction or increase in a party’s income, for example) that would change child support by 15 percent or more.  Child support generally continues until a child is 18 and finished with high school.  Child support does not automatically cease or modify when a modification or cessation of support is appropriate.  A parent has to file documents to stop support.

Child support generally will not be modified earlier than when a request to modify of stop support is made.
Once child support is determined, it is taken from the paying parent’s wages through an automatic process.
Child support can be calculated or modified through the Court or through a negotiated agreement.  If parties cannot agree on a child support amount, or other issues, they can mediate the matter.  A mediator can help the parties run different child support worksheets and help the parties reach an agreement, using conflict resolution techniques. Mediation is the less expensive, quicker, more amicable and more flexible alternative to going to Court.
Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation or family law, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or  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
a Professional Limited Liability Company
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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