Child support payments are crucial in helping children live healthy, safe lives with their custodial parent (the parent with whom they share a home). Child support is often an issue in divorce and custody proceedings, but it can also be payable by biological parents to guardians or foster parents. Parents who fail to make payments are in direct violation of a court order and will be held responsible under Arizona law as discussed below.
Banchette Law PLLC is a Tempe family law firm spearheaded by founding attorney, Adriana Blanchette, who is passionate about protecting the rights of you and your child. If you’re seeking compassionate legal advice and expert representation for your child support issue, call (602) 881-1748 to schedule a consultation.
Parents have a legal obligation and to financially support their child(ren). In Arizona, child support may be sought in any of the following actions:
In any of the above existing actions, your attorney can file an application for child support, after which the court will establish whether or not you’re eligible for child support, and if so, how much and for how long. If you didn’t have a child support order through any of those actions, you can seek support directly through the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS).
Child support eligibility and the payment amount vary depending on the circumstances of each case. Determining your eligibility and how much support should be ordered can be very complicated. To check your eligibility for child support and to ensure that proper support is ordered, hire qualified child support lawyer, Adriana Blanchette.
Child support is calculated based on a combination of parenting time percentages and income using the Income Shares Model so that children receive the same monetary benefits they would enjoy if their parents resided together.
Although the Income Shares Model is the standard guideline utilized by the courts, the courts can use their discretion to deviate from the calculated amount if it’s not in the child’s best interest or if it provides one parent with a substantially higher standard of living than the other.
The child support worksheet is used to determine the child support obligation of each parent. Each parent’s “Child Support Income” is utilized in the worksheet, however this isn’t the same as gross income on a parent’s tax returns. For example, Child Support Income can include, but isn’t limited to:
In accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-320(N), the court presumes that a parent is capable of full-time employment of at least the higher of the state or federal adult minimum wage.
This means that a parent can be assigned income even if they’re not working or are earning less than full-time minimum wage income. This is presumably to avoid situations where one parent chooses not to work and the working parent would be paying a support amount that’s too high.
The amount paid in child support often depends on factors unique to each case, the above examples are only some of the considerations. Call Blanchette Law PLLC at (602) 881-1748 to discuss your situation.
Considerable changes in either parent’s income, a change in the parenting time, or other unforeseen occurrences might require changes or modifications to child support agreements or orders. A petition for modification can be made by an attorney on your behalf.
For court approval of modifications, parents must demonstrate proof of a significant change in circumstances, such as:
In any of these instances, you’ll need a formal court order regardless if both parents agree to reduce the child support payment or if just one parent wants the modification. If both parents reach a modification agreement, they must submit the agreement to the court for approval.
As a lawyer with experience in child support cases in Tempe, Arizona, Adriana Blanchette can carefully review your situation and help you seek a child support modification. Call Blanchette Law PLLC at (602) 881-1748 to determine if your new situation warrants a modification.
When a parent violates a child support order, the order can be enforced by the Department of Child Support Services who can garnish their wages.
If child support payments are behind by at least 30 days, the payor can be taken to court for either the issuance of orders to collect overdue payments or for contempt. The appropriate method can be determined when you hire Blanchette Law PLLC.
When the payor stops making payments or has fallen behind on support payments, a lawyer can help secure receipt of the outstanding sums due (arrears) by asking a judge to issue new orders to collect overdue payments. The judge may even issue a wage garnishment order for the standard child support amount plus a portion for the arrears.
A child support lawyer can file for contempt when a child support order is violated. A hearing must be held for a contempt petition. The payor will likely be found to be in contempt for failing to pay support, they can be sanctioned with fees, and if they don’t appear for the hearing, a warrant can be issued for their arrest.
There are several penalties for a parent who fails to pay court-ordered child support, including:
Arizona treats failure to pay child support as a very serious crime known as “the failure of a parent to provide for a child.” If a defaulting parent is convicted of a misdemeanor, they may receive up to six months of jail time and a fine of $2500. However, the parent may be charged with a class 6 felony for failing to pay support, punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison.
Child support is a serious issue which should be addressed with the help of an experienced attorney. Blanchette Law PLLC understands how impactful unpaid child support can be and will work with you to determine the appropriate solution for your case.
Child support is one of the biggest issues of contention between parents, and it can be very complex depending on each parent’s financial circumstances. Blanchette Law PLLC is a Tempe family law practice devoted to all matters of family law cases with extensive experience making, challenging, modifying, and enforcing child support orders.
Call (602) 881-1748 today to schedule your consultation regarding child support.