The law is intended to create a set of societal guidelines for U.S. citizens to follow and also to ensure that issues, when they arise, are easily resolved. Not only are there laws to establish what a crime is, but laws are also put in place so that there should be little to no ambiguity when trying to resolve issues related to disputes, contracts, or other kinds of agreements. Divorce and childcare are a perfect example of this
The State of Arizona has created a number of laws that are intended to ensure that the proper care and support are provided for children should there be a separation between the parents or in instances where the parents have never formally been in a relationship. To lawmakers, the important part of creating these laws is ensuring that the children are being taken care of. This means that they have a proper place to live, food, ability to go to school, medical care, and all of the other requirements that go into ensuring the health and welfare of a child.
In this article we will go over child support in Arizona and when a parent may be eligible to claim child support. These situations are often complicated and require a thorough understanding of Arizona’s law, so we strongly recommend that you work with a skilled attorney. To get in contact with our family law team here at JacksonWhite, give us a call at (480) 467-4348 to setup a consultation with our experienced legal experts.
One type of authority that courts have been granted by the state legislature is to require one parent to pay child support (or child maintenance) to the other parent so as to aid in reaching this goal. The objective is to ensure that both parents are paying their “fair share” in regard to the care of the child or children.
The primary goal of the court is to ensure that whatever standard of living the child had before the separation would be maintained afterward. For example, if, while married, the couple had a nice house, lived in a good neighborhood, the kids were involved in sporting or other extracurricular activities, and they were involved in neighborhood groups, the court tries to maintain this living standard for them. This can mean that they will charge the parent responsible for paying child support an amount of money that helps to maintain that standard of living.
Of course, the court is not looking to bankrupt or leave the child support paying parent living on the street. The objective is the health and welfare of the children, while also not bankrupting the person paying child support. A fair amount is what is supposed to be established.
Can You File For Child Support While You Are Pregnant?
While it is pretty clear how child support is to be paid, there are those unusual circumstances where many wonder if they can still receive support. One such issue is when a woman is pregnant and looking to see if she can receive child support. Is this lawful in the state of Arizona?
The reality is no. One of the most essential aspects of child maintenance is that there needs to be a clear establishment of paternity. But until the child is born, it cannot be established that this is actually the child of the man who the woman is claiming to be the father. Until that has occurred, no request for child support can be made.
This can create quite a burden on some women. If the mom is in a situation where she may not be able to work because of complications related to the pregnancy, this can make it almost impossible for her to even be able to care for herself. It would seem logical that the court would be able to force the father into paying to assist her in such a situation, but that is not the reality at all. Until that child is born, no request for child support payments can actually be made.
It would be hoped that the father would want to be responsible enough to help the mother of his child to be able to be healthy herself, so that the baby would be strong and healthy at birth, but this cannot be required by law. It simply is beyond the authority of the court to order such a thing.
There Are Other Resources Available Besides Child Support
While the court is not a remedy for you to receive payments from the alleged father of your unborn child, you should be aware that some government agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Woman, Infants and Children, that provide resources for future and current mothers in need of assistance. No one wants to see the mother starving or living on the street, so these agencies are willing and able to assist you should you find yourself unable to care for your basic needs due to your pregnancy.
While these agencies will assist you, you should be aware that they cannot seek compensation from the father for the benefits that they have provided. Until that child is born, it is viewed by the court that the man is not responsible for the care of that child.
This also means that he is not directly responsible for the care of the mother. This is another reason why the court cannot order him to provide care for the pregnant mom during this time. It is not his responsibility to provide care for her, and this is part of alimony from a divorce settlement.
How JacksonWhite Can Help
There is no doubt that the legal system can be quite confusing. It doesn’t matter what your level of intelligence or education is, trying to navigate yourself through the system to ensure that the care and welfare of your child are maintained can be a real challenge.
If you are in need of assistance or have questions about what your legal options are, the best thing for you to do is to consult an attorney. Attorneys can advise you on what to do in preparation for the birth of your child and represent you in any potential hearing you may have in relation to a petition for child support.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.