What factors go into the child support calculation in Arizona?


The Arizona child support calculator takes into consideration several factors and it uses the income shares model to determine the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent must pay.

When determining the child support in a divorce, paternity or child support modification case, the following information is required:

  1. GROSS INCOMES. What is the gross incomes of both parents.  Gross income is the amount made before income taxes and deductions of any kind are taken out.  The Arizona Child Support calculator takes into account that both parents pay taxes.  The monthly gross incomes are used in the calculation.
  2. SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE. If either party is receiving spousal maintenance every month or is paying spousal maintenance every month then the monthly payment is used as a credit for the person paying and is included as income for the person receiving it. Spousal maintenance is included whether the spousal maintenance is between the parties or if one person is paying or receiving it from another party.
  3. OTHER CHILDREN. There may be other children of either party that are not children of either party to the case.  For example, a child of a previous relationship that either party may be paying child support for or receiving child support for or the child resides with either party and that party is supporting them.  A credit is included for the support paid for that child or for the support provided while the child is in that parties’ care
  4. EXTRAORDINARY CHILDREN.  We all have extraordinary children however, extraordinary in this case means a child that may be gifted and you are paying for a private school for example.  It could also mean that your child is a special needs child and you are paying for a school that meets the needs of that child.
  5. CHILD CARE COSTS.  If either party is paying for child care directly to the provider a credit is given for that expense and is included in the child support calculation.
  6. TEENAGE CHILDREN.  Is the child in common over the age of 12? If so the Arizona Child Support Calculator accounts for the fact that when children reach the teenage years they require more money to take care of them.  They eat more, their clothes get more expensive etc.
  7. HEALTH CARE INSURANCE PREMIUMS.  If either party pays a premium every month towards health insurance coverage then a credit is given for that.  Everyone always tells me well it’s a family plan and covers the whole family.  The guidelines say that only the portion actually paid for the child is the amount that is added to the calculator.
  8. PARENTING TIME DAYS.  The number of days actually spent with the non-custodial parent is included and a deduction in child support paid is given to the parent for the time spent with the children.  This makes sense because when the child is visiting with a parent that parent is paying for food, may have the air conditioning on a little longer than normal, there are more baths and showers being taken and therefore the water bill goes up so that parent’s support is given directly to the children and not to the other parent.

What’s interesting is what’s not included in the Arizona Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support.

Apparently, no one cares how many bills the parent’s have, whether you owe taxes, whether your car battery just died and you have a huge car repair bill. Likewise, the fact that you have a new husband or wife and they make 100,000 per year.  The Arizona Child Support Guidelines are really focused only on the child and the child’s needs and the cost of supporting the child in a tunnel vision type way.

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