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Obtaining a complete picture on Arizona child support requires an attorney who will tell it to you straight. This is particularly important when a divorce becomes difficult or contentious.

Here are five truths related to Arizona child support:

1. Quitting your job or taking a lower paying job in an attempt to reduce child support obligations will not work.

The court can impute income to you up to the level you are capable of earning. Any voluntary income reduction will be scrutinized.

2. The income reflected on your tax return is not necessarily your gross income for child support calculation purposes.

Some tax deductions are not properly deductible from your income when child support is being calculated. Personal expense reimbursements received in the course of your employment may also count as income.

If you are self-employed, only ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income are deducted from gross receipts to arrive at gross income for child support, although such expenses do include one-half of the self-employment tax actually paid.

3. Only your income is part of the child support calculation.

Child support is based on the earnings and/or earning capacities of the parents, not their new spouses. However, recurring gifts or benefits with a cash value from any third party can increase your gross income.

4. The spouse who receives child support payments cannot be forced to account for how the support is spent.

Child support is not intended solely for the purchase of tangible items for children, but for the cost of living space, utilities, gas for transportation and other expenditures that are difficult to measure. No accounting of expenses, however, will be ordered by a court.

5. Even if your spouse denies your right to see the children, this can’t be used as an excuse to withhold child support.

Do take appropriate legal action if you are not being allowed to see your children, but understand parenting time and child support are viewed as two separate issues by the court. Child support is defined, by law, to be your primary financial obligation.

The courts have little sympathy for those who neglect making timely payments. A knowing failure to pay support is a crime, which can result in jail time and the payment of attorneys’ fees to the other party.

If you are considering divorce, Ottawa College’s Second Saturday series is held on the second Saturday of every month. This series gives you four hours of divorce-related information from experts that include an attorney, certified divorce planner, and psychologist for $40.00. Call 602-569-4764 to register.

Contact us at Hallier Stearns PLC if you are looking for a lawyer who will give you the straight facts and legal counsel you need in an Arizona divorce.