Do I Have to Pay Child Support in Arizona If We Live Together?


Child support is one of those issues that seem pretty clear-cut. In the vast majority of cases, the child or children live with one parent, and that parent is in need of some kind of support to care for the children. As a result, the court grants an order that requires the noncustodial parent to pay child support for the welfare of the children.

Some Situations Are More Complicated Than Others

The problem is that not every circumstance fits into this nice box. There are unusual situations where a parent may be seeking child support, but whether it should be granted is up for debate. One such situation is when both parents of the child are living together under the same roof with the child. Would you be required to pay child support if you are living together?

This is a very interesting scenario, and one that is not generally addressed by the court. How the court normally views this is that if the child is living under the roof of a parent, then there is no need for child support. Because the child is living with both parents, it is assumed that support is being provided as part of the normal operation of the household.

In cases such as this, courts do not get involved generally. There would be no obligation to pay child support because the child lives with you. What would be the purpose in granting such an order?

It is Possible to Pay Child Support While Living with the Custodial Parent

There can be circumstances where both parents are residing in the same home, but the court may deem it necessary to force one parent to provide support to the other. One of the things that complicates the situation is that even if the two parents are living together, the arrangement does not dictate that both parents are providing support for the household. Because they are not married, there is not the assertion of property rights, meaning that one parent may be living in the household but literally have no possession of anything in that household itself.

This can have a detrimental effect on the children and can be a situation where the court will get involved.

Proof Must Be Provided for the Need of Child Support

If the court finds that one parent is not properly caring for the children, then the judge can order that support be provided. While it is not the obligation of the parent to support and care for the other parent, they are still obligated to care for the children.

If proof has been shown that one parent is not taking care of the needs of the child, the court can get involved. This usually happens when one parent has become completely responsible for all of the costs related to the running of the household and the caring of the children while the other parent keeps all of the money, they make for him or herself.

What should be understood is that this is a rather complicated circumstance. While courts hate to see parents deciding that separation may be the best option for them, they also recognize that separation seems inevitable anyway when one parent is not upholding their responsibilities. Forcing one parent to pay support may only expedite this matter, and so you may be advised to look into the possibility that maybe separation is best served for the benefit of both parents and even for the child.

The Unusual Has to Be Addressed

While this is an extremely unusual circumstance, unusual is something that courts have to be prepared for. The vast majority of the time the court will not involve itself in circumstances like this. They believe that since the two parents have decided to reside in the same home, it is assumed that the child is being cared for by both parents.

This is a situation where you have to have the proper amount of documentation and proof to support any allegation of neglect on the part of one parent. Your word about this is not good enough. You not only need to show financial records that support that you have become the sole provider for the child, but that nothing is being done by the other parent to help care for the welfare and health of the child or children.

This can be an extremely difficult thing to prove and is why it really could be to your advantage to seek legal counsel to assist you with this dispute.

Consult a Family Law Attorney

A lot of times, the simple threat of legal action may encourage the other parent to do something to be more proactive about providing support. It can have a detrimental effect on your relationship, but it should ensure that the other parent upholds to their responsibilities.

Having an attorney talk to the other parent and discuss the potential litigation they may face for not supporting their child may be enough to get the situation resolved. However, that is not always the case.

If you are finding yourself in a situation where you are not really knowing what to do in relation to this matter, it is in your advantage to come to JacksonWhite and speak to one of our attorneys. We can advise you on what steps you should take to resolve your matter in a way that is as amicably done as possible. Our objective is not to create a wedge between you and the other parent, but to ensure that the support and welfare of your children are the priority.

Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.

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