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In custody cases in Arizona that are taken to court, parents will be required to fill out a Parent’s Worksheet for Child Support. The worksheet breaks down the financial situation of each parent involved and helps the court to determine the fair amount of child support on a case by case basis. Child support is not a predetermined amount that is universal; it will be determined based on financial situations, parenting time schedules, and the needs of the children.
Child support is necessary to ensure that the child’s daily needs are met. Child support payments are intended to cover a child’s basic needs, such as: food, clothing, care, and medical insurance. Parents are legally obligated to provide these basic needs for their children or there are repercussions. Child support payments help to cover these costs involved with having a child without placing undue burden on one parent.
Arizona Child Support Worksheet
Family law cases that involve children will require that an order is entered with the courts regarding the amount of child support that will need to be paid each month. In order to set a standard for the determining factors in child support, the Arizona court system implemented the Arizona Parent’s Worksheet for Child Support. This worksheet breaks down the financial situations and obligations of each party. The state provides instructions for filling out the parent’s worksheet.
Whether you are coming to an agreement on your own or through the court, both parents will need to fill out the child support worksheet. The worksheet will be attached to the agreement or court order.
When you are filling out the worksheet, if you are unsure of the financials of the other parent, you have the ability to estimate the amounts, and the courts will look at the other parent’s submission for their actual financial information. It is helpful to fill this out before entering mediation so that you have an understanding of about how much child support should be given.
Also, if one of the parents was a stay-at-home parent or is unemployed, you can enter their income as minimum wage, because it is an accepted truth that the parent can find employment for minimum wage.
Factors to Consider on the Arizona Child Support Worksheet
Many factors are considered in the worksheet to best determine the fair amount of child support to be paid.
- Parenting Time: The amount of time the child will spend with each parent will help determine the financial obligation of each parent, as the parent with less parenting time will likely contribute more money in child support
- Income: The parent with the higher income will likely be expected to contribute more money for the child support because if the parents were together the child would benefit from the higher income in their lifestyle
- Day Care: The parent that pays for day care will likely pay less child support because the courts take into account the expense of day care for the children as a contribution
- Insurance: The parent that pays for health insurance for the children will have a lower child support obligation because they are spending money on the insurance and that is deducted from their obligation to pay
- Spousal Support: Spousal support is considered in determining child custody because it is considered income for the receiving parent
- Special needs of a child: If the child has special needs, the court will take this into account to help split the costs of the expenses involved with the added needs of the child
There is no exact formula in place to determine child support. The worksheet will help both parties and the court have an understanding of the financial situation of each parent, but the calculations done on this sheet are just a reference, not a guarantee. The courts will likely create a worksheet of their own based on information provided by both parties. This court version of the worksheet can vary from the parties’ worksheets, and if the case is taken to court the court will have the final determination of child support.
Who is Responsible to Pay Child Support
In a family law case that involves children, child support is an important aspect that the court will consider to ensure the child is given the best situation possible. After determining parenting time the courts will determine exactly how much a parent will have to pay each month for the child’s needs.
The parent responsible for paying child support will be determined by a few factors, including parenting time and income. Generally the parent that does not have as much parenting time will pay child support and the parent with a higher income will likely pay child support.
Who Determines Child Support Amounts
In each child custody case, child support will be determined in order to guarantee the child is taken care of. If the parents are willing and able to come to an agreement on their own or through mediation, they have the right to determine the amount of child support on their own. This is the only way to ensure that you have a say so on the amount of child support you will be paying.
If the child support case is taken to court to determine child support amounts, the judge will have the final determination on the amount. This means that in court you will only have the ability to provide financial details and your opinions, the court will determine the amount and it is enforceable by law.
Because there is no exact calculation for child support, it can become a legal battle to determine the exact amount. Understanding what each parent is obligated to provide and entitled to receive will help you understand the fair amount of child support for your case.
The best interest of the child will always be the bottom line in a child support case. As long as both sides are committed to ensuring their child’s needs are met then this will be a simpler process.
An experienced family law attorney will understand the laws that govern child support and the general decision-making factors the courts consider. An attorney can assist you in ensuring that parent with majority custody receives the child support they deserve, or ensure that as the parent paying child support that you are only paying the fair and reasonable amount.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.
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