The best child Support lawyer in Phoenix AZ will know how to diffuse heated encounters and help parents reach an agreement. Regardless of their personal differences, both parents must meet their legal obligations to provide their children with the financial resources they need. If either parent fails to do so, they may be subject to contempt proceedings, fines and even jail time. Contact the experienced family law attorneys at Stewart Law Group to discuss your options for obtaining or enforcing a child support order.
The State of Arizona has established Child Support Guidelines to help the court establish a fair and reasonable amount of monthly child support payments. The courts may deviate from the guidelines but must do so in a specific case-by-case fashion after considering all of the relevant facts and circumstances involved. For example, the court must consider the child’s needs, the parents’ standard of living, the expenses and incomes of each parent, the amount of parenting time allocated to each parent and whether or not the parties are paying or receiving public assistance.
Once the judge approves a child support order, both parents must bring their most recent tax returns, pay stubs and a completed financial disclosure statement to the hearing. The court will review the information and calculate each party’s share of the support obligation based on the Guidelines.
Both parties have the right to have their lawyers present at the hearing. However, if one party can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will assign one. The judge will then set the amount of child support, order both parents to provide health insurance for the children and if applicable, determine how the extra-curricular activities should be paid for.
Parents may also include provisions for the payment of these expenses in their own separation agreements. These arrangements can be amended at a later date, but the terms must be written into the child support order to be enforced. Failure to comply with a court’s child support order may result in a finding of non-compliance, which can lead to professional and other sanctions such as the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license and/or income tax refund offsets.
Parents must continue to pay support until their child is emancipated, which is typically when the child graduates from high school or turns 21, whichever occurs first. Parents whose children are already emancipated may petition the court to terminate their support obligation. The court will then set the termination date in its order. The court can also require both parents to provide medical and/or dental care for their children, in addition to regular support. This can be done on an ongoing basis or in response to a request by either parent. The courts will typically only make this a requirement if the parents can’t come to an agreement on these expenses. Parents who want to include these expenses in their child support order must file a separate petition in the appropriate court.