In Arizona, both parents have an obligation to support their children despite the fact that they are divorced. After considerable investigation to the financial circumstances of both parents and the use of a child support calculator, the court will issue an order to the non-custodial parent to make a payment of a certain sum each month. The payment for 1 child in Arizona is usually between four and five hundred dollars. Of course family circumstances differ greatly.
If you or someone you know is need of assistance with their divorce or child support situation, please contact one of our skilled family law attorneys. You can give us a call at (480) 467-4348 or fill out a form online to get in contact.
How Do I Pay Child Maintenance?
The payment is not made to the other parent. If you are now doing this, you need to understand that the court may consider these funds as gifts and not as support payments. You are still liable for the support payments you have missed. Instead, contact the Support Payment Clearinghouse to make the court ordered payments. Eventually if you have a job with a salary, your support payments will be deducted from your paycheck. But if you are not in that situation, you will continue paying the Support Payment Clearinghouse.
How Do I Stop the Payments?
At the time your child is turning eighteen, you need to understand the following facts:
- Most Orders of Assignments include the date of termination. If you are making the payments, it is your responsibility to make sure they are stopped. If you are in arrears, your employer is obliged to continue with the payments until the arrears are paid up.
- If you are paying for two or more children, the court order is not lowered until you file a petition to change the child support with the court.
- If you have overpaid the amount due to an error or were late in filing the petition, you are entitled to a reimbursement.
If you and the other parent both agree that you may stop the payments, you can file an agreement with the court and if the judge agrees, you will be able to stop the payments.
What Happens if I Don’t Make the Child Support Payment?
There are significant fines for missed payments ranging from 25% to 33% of the missed payment. But in some extreme cases, the court may assign an even higher percentage.
There are a number of other penalties that can be levied against the non-custodial parent, including:
- Credit ratings can be affected
- Refusal to renew a driver’s licence
- Refusal to update a passport
- Government checks, such as unemployment benefits can be compromised
Parent Locator Service
Many non-custodial parents leave the state where they are living to avoid paying child support payments. The federal government has a locator service. Once the fleeing parent is found, measures can be taken to rectify the arrears in payments through deducting these funds from income tax refunds for the non-custodial parent. Banks can also bring measures against these non-custodial parents.
Contempt of Court Citation
A Contempt of Court Citation is another means of collecting on support payments. If the non-custodial parent has any properties, vehicles, real estate or stocks, these can be seized by the court.
How Does Child Support Impact My Taxes?
Child Support payments do not affect taxes. They cannot be deducted by the payer and they are not taxable by the payee.
As far as taxes are concerned, there are only 2 types of parents: custodial parents and non-custodial parents. There is no joint parent for tax purposes. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lives for more than half the year. The custodial parent is able to claim the child as a deduction though.
However, the custodial parent may fill out a form giving the non-custodial parent the right to the deduction.
The Importance of Keeping Records
It is important to have a record of all child support payments whether they were made by check or digitally. One excellent habit is to keep the records all together. You may need these records to prove you are not in arrears, especially when the final payment is made.
It is All in the Best Interest of the Child
Research shows that children raised with both parents develop more fully than if one parent is not present or minimally involved. So, even though you may have been divorced from your partner it is still important to try to keep a relationship with this person, preferably a constructive relationship for the sake of your child. While the child resides with the custodial parent, making time for visits or time with the non-custodial parent is important.
Children that spend quality time with both their parents:
- are more empathetic
- are twice as likely to get an education
- are 75% less likely to be a teen parent
- are 80% less likely to be in jail
- earn more as in school
- are 33% less likely to fail a grade
- are able to deal with frustration more effectively
- feel more confident about themselves
- are less likely to abuse substances
- are much less likely to run away from home
- are less likely to commit suicide
In Arizona, there is a shift in the judicial system to encourage both parents to equally share the costs of raising of their children whenever the situation is in the best interests of the children; as the benefits of this situation is becoming more evident. By becoming involved with your children, you are setting a role model for the next generation.