Raising a child is expensive, and often, the income of both parents is required to support a child. When both parents live in the same household, it is easier to share the costs of caring for the child, but if the parents divorce or simply do not live together, one parent may be required to pay child support to the other parent to help meet the child's needs. If your co-parent or you intend to seek child support, it is vital to speak with an experienced Mesa child support lawyer as soon as possible to evaluate your rights and obligations. At Stromfors Law Office, we will work diligently to help you pursue an outcome that is both favorable to you and in the best interests of your child. We have been assisting the residents of Maricopa County in child support cases for almost two decades.Arizona Child Support Guidelines
Under Arizona law, each parent has an obligation to provide reasonable support for his or her child. An award of joint legal decision-making authority or a substantially equal division of parenting time does not mean that either parent cannot be required to pay child support. The support obligation is calculated based on child support guidelines established by the Arizona Supreme Court. The guidelines are reviewed by the court every four years to ensure that they are appropriate to determine adequate support amounts. A deviation from the guidelines is permitted, but only when the court finds that the application of the guidelines is either unjust or inappropriate under the unique facts of a case.
The support guidelines follow the income shares model, under which the court calculates the approximate amount required to support the child if the parents and the child lived together, in addition to the proportionate amount of each parent’s gross income to the total cost of supporting the child. A child support attorney can help Mesa residents understand how the income shares model may work in their case. Any income that a parent acquires from any source is considered gross income, including wages and pensions.
In addition to the support that each parent would be obligated to provide under the income shares model, the court may weigh additional factors to determine a support obligation that is in the best interests of the child. Specifically, the court may assess the financial resources and needs of both parents and the child, as well as the standard of living to which the child would have been accustomed if both parents resided in the same household. The court will also consider the child’s educational, physical, and emotional needs and the length of each parent’s parenting time, together with the expenses incurred during that time.Duration and Modification of Child Support Obligations
Typically, a child support obligation ends when a child reaches the age of majority or completes high school. In some cases, as a Mesa child support attorney can explain, a support obligation will extend past the age of 18. For example, if a child has severe mental or physical disabilities that began before he or she turned 18, the court may order the support obligation to continue past the age of 18. Once the court orders one parent to pay child support, either parent can request a modification if there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances. Changes that would be considered substantial and material include a fluctuation in either parent’s income or ability to earn an income, changes to the custodial arrangement, or either parent having additional children.Meet With an Experienced Family Law Attorney Regarding Your Child Support Matter
In any child support case, the foremost concern is developing an arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. At Stromfors Law Office, we will diligently pursue a child support order that is both favorable to you and in the best interests of your child. From our office in Mesa, our knowledgeable child support lawyers assist people in child support actions throughout Maricopa County. We can be reached at (480) 237-1276 or through the form online to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.