Chandler child support lawyer
Representing people in Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, and throughout the Phoenix Valley in child support and other family law matters
Child support is one of the most often discussed, frequently contested, and highly complicated areas in a divorce or legal separation. Determining whether child support is owed, by whom, and how much is a complex issue. It depends on such factors as how much the parents earn respectively, who is the custodial or primary custodial parent, whether there are any other children belonging to one parent or the other, and what expenses each of the parties have. That’s why it’s important to have a Chandler child support lawyer review your matter and stand by your side every stop of the way.
What courts consider in awarding child support
You might be surprised at the variety of factors the court reviews in its determination of child support. Under Arizona law, they include:
- The comparative gross income of the parents.
- Any child support or non-court-ordered costs paid for children not of the relationship at issue, whether they live with you or not.
- Any spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) paid or received.
- Health insurance costs for the children.
- Day-care costs.
- Whether any children are age 12 or older (which automatically increases the amount of child support by 10 percent).
- Any additional education expenses, such as uniforms, extracurricular activities, or programs for mentally challenged or gifted children.
How the amount of child support is determined
If you want to get an idea of the how much child support a court might award, try using Arizona’s electronic child support calculator. It’s free and available on the the Arizona Supreme Court website.
Arizona courts also use a standard form called an Affidavit of Financial Information (AFI). On this form, you must list all income, expenses, assets, and debts. Don’t get stressed out about it. Both sides must review, complete, and submit the form to the court. So you are not disclosing anything the other side does not have to disclose. It is important to be as honest, forthright, and complete as possible. Otherwise, you are only hurting yourself.
How medical costs are divided
You might think that judges would simply order a 50/50 split between parents in handling expenses such as medical and dental costs for the child. But in Arizona, the parent deemed to have the majority of the financial responsibility bears the whole duty and burden of carrying the child’s health insurance. This parent is assessed the entire cost even if the child-support recipient, which is almost always the custodial parent, can get better or cheaper coverage. This also is true if neither parent can afford anything other than low-income coverage paid by the state through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS, pronounced access). Typically, any uninsured medical fees are divided up in proportion to the parents’ relative income.