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It may seem as though the amount a parent will be ordered to pay in child support is shrouded in mystery. But Arizona actually has clear statewide guidelines that help courts in making their child support determinations.

Arizona child support is calculated pursuant to its guidelines based on a number of factors, including the gross income of each parent (“gross income” is defined very broadly and, with few exceptions, includes income from any source), the cost of health insurance and day care, and the parenting time schedule.

Duration of Child Support

Parents ordered to pay child support for natural or adopted children must do so until the child in question is emancipated. For child support purposes, emancipation occurs when they turn 18 if they have graduated from high school, or when they graduate from high school, or if they have turned 19 and have not graduated from high school, whichever occurs first.

An Arizona court is also without authority to enter any child support orders once children are past the age of emancipation (except in the case of a disabled child). Otherwise, only by agreement of both parents can support payments continue past emancipation or include college expenses.

Financial Information You Need to Know

In divorce or legal separation actions, monthly child support payments become due commencing the first of the month after the action is filed. Payments are typically made by deduction from the payor’s wages and channeled through a clearinghouse, where records of payments made and amounts due in each case are kept.

Moreover, only monetary payments count as support. Gifts to children or payments for their expenses made to someone other than their parent are not credited toward child support. Finally, regarding child support’s tax implications, child support is not taxable to the recipient nor deductible by the payor.

To calculate child support in your situation, you can refer to www.supreme.state.az.us/childsup/.

Contact us at Hallier Lawrence for more information regarding your child support concerns and other legal family issues.