What is Child Support and When does it occur in Arizona?
Custody is the legal ability to make decisions about a child or minor’s welfare and development. In Arizona, divorced parents have a legal obligation to support the children from the marriage, whether the children are natural-born or adopted. There are different types of custody arrangements in Arizona, and the custody arrangements determine who the child lives with and makes decisions on the child’s behalf. Divorced parties with minor children, or children under 18 years old, must submit a parenting plan to the court as part of the divorce requirements. The parenting plan contains the parents’ decision on child support, visiting time, and other issues relating to the child’s welfare. If parents do not agree, the court will make a decision in the matter. As provided by state laws, both parents must support the child, regardless of which parent has custody. The Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) enforces child support payments in Arizona.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the document or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.
What is Arizona Child Support?
Arizona state laws (ARS § 25–500) define child support as providing a minor’s maintenance, which includes but is not limited to medical insurance, uncovered medical costs, cash medical support, public assistance reimbursement, arrearages, interest on arrearages, past support and interests accrued on past support. In Arizona, both the custodial and non-custodial parents have the legal responsibility to support a child. However, the court determines the amount each parent pays in support of the child. Both parents must pay child support to each other in cash. Child support ends when a child reaches the age of majority, that is, on the last day of the month the child turns 18, graduates high school, or turns 19 without graduating high school. Arizona Child Support Guidelines guide child support in the state. In determining the child support guidelines, the court considers amongst other factors:
- The child’s needs and resources
- The custodial parent’s needs and financial resources
- The child’s educational needs
- The child’s emotional and physical condition
- The non-custodial parent’s needs and financial resources
- The child’s medical needs and support plans
- Parenting time and related expenses
What Does Child Support Cover in Arizona?
In Arizona, child support covers a variety of things, including:
- Education: child support covers tuition costs, uniforms, books, school trips, school lunch, and if the child requires one, a private tutor.
- Childcare: when one or both parents are not available to supervise the child, child support covers alternatives such as daycares, nannies, and babysitters.
- Basic needs: food, clothes, and shelter are a child’s basic needs. Child support covers things like groceries, mortgage, rent, utility bills, and gas.
- Medical needs: health insurance, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and all other medical needs are provided for through child support.
- Travel: child support also covers a child’s travel needs, including school trips, insurance and registration, transportation fares, gas fees, and car payments.
- Entertainment: toys, games, computers, TV, and internet access are also important parts of a child’s development. Child support covers entertainment and outings.
What is the Average Child Support Payment in Arizona?
The child support payment amount depends on the parents’ combined income and the number of children. Arizona has a Child Support Calculator, a tool that advises parents on possible child support amounts. Users must enter information such as:
- Case number
- Petitioner’s name
- Respondent’s name
- Time-sharing arrangement
- Number of children
- Children’s ages
- Parents’ income
However, it is worth noting that the Child Support Calculator may not accurately reflect the court’s decision. The child’s well-being is of utmost importance to the court, and therefore the court considers additional factors in determining child support amount. The court also considers the child’s needs, the parents’ financial ability, and other circumstances surrounding the case.
How do I apply for Child Support in Arizona?
A child support order indicates the monthly payment amount that the non-custodial parent must pay, or in a case where the child is in a guardian or relative’s care, or in foster care, the amount both parents must pay. The child support order also lists the parent responsible for medical support. Parties are eligible for a child support order if:
- The child is less than 18
- The child’s paternity is established
- The child’s parents never got married
- The divorced parents did not have a child support order at the time of divorce
- The child is in the care of an agency, caretaker, or another party
- Both parents received legal notice of the child support order establishment
To apply for child support, parties will need:
- The child’s birth certificate
- Paternity orders
- The other parent’s name and social security number
- The name and address of the other parent’s employer
- Records of payments that the petitioning parent has received directly
- Adoption documents (if applicable)
- Marriage license and divorce decree (if applicable)
Interested parties must file the Request for Child Support Services form with additional pages for each child. Petitioning parties may file the completed forms by email, drop-off at a local DCSS office, or by mail to:
P. O. Box 40458
Phoenix, AZ 85067
How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support in Arizona?
Interested parties may contest child custody orders by requesting an amendment or alteration from the judge that issued the order. Interested parties may also file a motion for a re-trial within 15 days of the court’s first order. The conditions under which the party may request a retrial are:
- The other party had a misconduct
- The petitioner has new evidence
- The petitioner was denied a fair trial
- The judge did not accept the petitioner’s evidence at the first trial
- There was no justification for the judge’s judgment
Additionally, if the petitioner has recently discovered misconduct or fraud by the other parent, or if the petitioner made a mistake in the first trial, the petitioner may request relief from the child support order from the court.
Other reasons why a person a party may wish to stop child support payments or file for modification include:
- The custodial parent’s financial situation changed
- The parents get back together
- The non-custodial parent can no longer afford the child support amount
What is Back Child Support in Arizona?
Back child support, or retroactive child support in Arizona, is the child support amount owed to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent. According to (ARS § 25–230),, the court can enforce retroactive child support for a number of reasons:
- Either or both parents owe child support
- There was no child support order at the point of the parents’ divorce
- The parties were separated before filing for divorce
How Do I Get Back Child Support Paid in Arizona?
Persons interested in getting retroactive child support may file for service with the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The DCSS aids the enforcement of child support laws; the DCSS may intercept the non-paying parent’s lottery winnings, revoke the non-paying parent’s driver’s license, or seize the non-paying parents’ assets.
The custodial parent may also file a Motion for Contempt or Child Support Enforcement petition with the family court.
Is There an Arizona Statutes of Limitation on Child Support?
The statute of limitation on child support in Arizona is three (3) years for parties who separated and lived apart before filing for divorce. This means that except the court finds it necessary to expand the window, a person may only collect retroactive child support for the three years before the person filed the motion in court. For all other intents and purposes, statutes of limitation do not apply to child support in Arizona.