Arizona Child Support FAQs

arizona child support questions and answers
Although paid to the custodial parent, Arizona child support technically supports the child. The reason? Until they reach the age of 18, children have a legal entitlement to financial support from their parents. An order of child support is a requirement issued by a judge. Failure to follow the order results in penalties.

Some common, and not so common, questions on Arizona Child Support.

Q: How is the amount of Arizona child support determined?

A: The Supreme Court adopted new Arizona Child Support Guidelines in 2015. The “calculator” considers a wide variety of factors, each of which helps determine the child support amount to be paid. These include the number of children, their ages, and the percentage of time spent with each parent. Additionally, the calculator considers the income of both the custodial and non-custodial parent as well as monthly support (both child and spousal) received and paid by both parents, from this relationship as well as prior relationships.

Finally, it looks at costs paid by both parents toward daycare and medical insurance. Arizona law calculates the amount required to support the child or children if the parents lived together to arrive at a child support amount, and the calculator helps determine which portion of this amount is payable by each parent.

Q: How many fathers versus mothers pay Arizona child support?

A: This answer is not as black and white as the question indicates. Overall, fathers pay more in child support. Nationwide, fathers in 2013 paid $19.4 billion in child support, 67.5 percent of the $28.7 billion they owed. Mothers paid $3.1 billion, or 74.9 percent of the $4.2 billion they owed.

One reason non-custodial mothers pay less than non-custodial fathers is the differences in income. The income of both parents goes into calculating child support orders. The average household income of custodial fathers not receiving child support obligations is $52,000 annually. For mothers in this situation, household income is literally half this amount at $26,000. Additionally, 32 percent of custodial mothers live below the poverty line compared to 16 percent of custodial fathers.

Q: Is health insurance part of Arizona child support, or is it separate?

A: Child support orders may include orders for health insurance coverage. If the custodial parent provides health insurance instead, such as through an employer’s benefits package, the court may order the non-custodial parent to pay a cash support amount to compensate this expense.

Q: How is Arizona child support paid?

A:  In cases of court-ordered child support, the payor typically sends child support payments to the Support Payment Clearinghouse, which records the payment and issues a check to the payee. If the payor is employed, payments typically come via Wage Assignment (or Order of Assignment). The Wage Assignment goes to the employer with payment automatically deducted from the payor’s paycheck. The employer sends the payment to the Support Payment Clearinghouse, which then handles the payment as usual.

Wage Assignment takes effect about a month after being processed. During this time, the payor makes payments directly to the Support Payment Clearinghouse. If the payor changes jobs, he or she gives a copy of the Wage Assignment to the new employer and notifies the Clerk of the Superior Court and the Support Payment Clearinghouse, in writing, of the new employer’s information. Until the new Wage Assignment takes effect, the payor must make payments directly to the Support Payment Clearinghouse.

Q: Does Arizona child support always end at 18?

A: No, child support does not always end when the child turns 18. Exceptions include children unable to live independently due to either physical or mental disability, or children under the age of 19 and still attending high school or securing a GED.

Q: Do I have to establish paternity?

A: Legally establishing paternity gives the father the rights of privileges of a parent, while also providing rights for the child. These include rights to medical care, inheritance, and benefits such as social security. Genetic testing helps establish paternity, but it only does so if it reveals a 95 percent probability of paternity. The State of Arizona pays initially, with the alleged father agreeing to repay the amount if testing confirms paternity.

If the father lives in another state, established paternity crosses state lines. This also holds if paternity was established in a state other than Arizona. Finally, fathers may also voluntarily acknowledge paternity.

If the mother is unsure of the father’s identity, testing begins with the man on whom the mother provides the most information.

Q: Can I locate the non-custodial parent?

A: The Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) helps locate absent parents, custodial parents, non-custodial parents, and any member of a case. This includes income sources and medical insurance providers. DCSS does this to establish paternity or an order of support, or to enforce or modify an order of support. DCSS also locates parents in other states.

Q: Can I modify an existing child support order?

A: Yes, federal and state law allow modification of child support orders for those who qualify. Factors considered include current income of both parents and AZ child support guidelines; a substantial, continuing situation would change your order by 15 percent or more.

If the non-custodial parent of record actually houses the child, this merits review to modify a support order. Possible results include reducing the amount paid, or even receiving support.

Numerous situations qualify for a review request, including three years since the last review, an order that does not include medical support, and a significant change in income for either parent.

Q: I am a victim of domestic violence. Can I file for child support and still have protection from the non-custodial parent?

A: In some cases, child support cases can be labeled as “non-disclosure” cases. This allows working your case without identifying information to protect you and your child(ren). Your information does not appear on court orders, including your address.

To establish this, you must supply certain records, including arrest or police reports, court orders, criminal records, medical records, social service or governmental records, sworn statements from witnesses, and any record establishing that conception resulted from either sexual assault or incest.

Q: My grandchild lives with me. A child support order already exists but is payable to my child. How can I collect child support for my grandchild?

A: Caretakers may get an order of support through a Transfer of Support Rights, which transfers support payments to the caretaker. You must prove you housed the child for at least 30 consecutive days. DCSS may retain payments if you receive public assistance. Both parents receive notification of the transfer. If the child leaves your custody, notify DCSS to end the transfer.

Q: Can I receive services from the Division of Arizona Child Support Services (DCSS) even if I have a private attorney?

A: Yes, you can. As long as you keep DCSS informed of any actions your attorney files, you may use DCSS even when you have an attorney.

Q: Is failure to pay child support a criminal matter?

A: Courts determine whether failure to pay Arizona child support is a crime. You must prove that the non-custodial parent knows he or she has an obligation, has the resources to pay, and refuses to do so.

Q: How is payment on arrears determined?

A: Unpaid support payments lead to a “payment on arrears” amount being added to the regular support amount. Determining the additional amount depends on how many months went unpaid.

  • At least two months but less than six months: may be an additional 25 percent of the current support amount
  • At least six months but less than 12 months: may be an additional 33 percent of the current support amount
  • Twelve months or more: may be an additional 33 percent of the current support amount, or an amount determined by the court, whichever is greater
Q: What happens if the non-custodial parent files for bankruptcy? Does it mean that he or she no longer has to pay child support?

No, bankruptcy does not negate Arizona child support obligations. However, it may affect payment on arrears.

Q: Can the government intercept federal income tax returns to pay past due child support?

A: Yes, federal law allows interception of federal tax refunds to pay past due child support. The Federal Tax Refund Offset Program applies tax refunds to these overdue payments. Arrears in excess of $500 lasting longer than three months qualify for an IRS refund intercept. Arrears owed to the state must exceed $150 and be three months overdue. Federal refunds first go to repay money owed to the State.

Q: Does a parent who refuses to pay child support lose visitation rights?

A: Arizona Child support and child custody are two separate legal issues. If the non-custodial parent does not pay required child support, he or she cannot be denied court-ordered visitation. The court may modify an order, but severing it is unlikely. If the parent owed the payments prevents visitation, he or she risks the non-custodial parent requesting, and gaining, a modified custody agreement.

The custodial parent may seek restitution in other ways, such as wage assignment. Other penalties include negative credit and the State refusing to renew a professional or driver’s license.

Child custody laws are complex and missed details in the finale decree can adversely affect you for a very long time. During this emotional time you need an experienced and compassionate child custody attorney. Edwards & Petersen, PLC are experts in child custody and you need them on your side.

If you have any Arizona child support questions that were not answered here, or just want some clarification on one that was, please leave a reply down below.

If you would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate family law attorneys, Brian Petersen or Joshua Edwards, Call  (480) 779-8377 or click the button below for a FREE case evaluation.

Comments 80

  1. What happens if I have custody of my child and this child decides to live with the other parent? Do I have to pay child support even if the court gave me full custody?

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      Yes! Do not stop making court-ordered child support payments, even if you now house your child.
      However, you do have options, but you have to go back to court to make everything official. Whether your child now lives with you fulltime, or you and your ex split custody 50/50, you can either go back to court for a modification or request DCSS modify the order.
      In order to request a review, three years must have passed since the original court order, as well as any prior modification reviews. Read our blog posting on child support modification for full details.

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  2. How can I get someone to understand where I’m coming from when I’m paying child support for children that I’m taking care of? I modified my child support already but now having issues with child support taking my Medicare premiums? I am not getting a check because it’s counted as my income but it’s going to the father. I NEED HELP PLEASE!!

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      You don’t need to do anything to benefit from the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program. Arizona’s Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) submits information regarding delinquent child support directly to the IRS and Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. This includes the names and social security numbers of both parents, as well as the amount owed.
      If the noncustodial parent is in arrears AND filed a federal income tax return AND is owed a federal tax refund, his or her refund goes toward paying those past due monies. Your case is eligible for the tax refund offset program if you meet one of the following criteria:
      • Owed at least $150 and receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
      • Owed at least $500 and do not receive TANF
      DCSS may hold these funds for up to 180 days before disbursal. The noncustodial parent has 30 days to request review. If the noncustodial parent files a joint tax return, his or her spouse may file an Injured Spouse Claim to obtain his or her portion of the refund.
      Federal Tax Refund Offset Program
      Arizona’s Division of Child Support Services (DCSS)

  3. If im paying child support in another country (Sonora, Mexico) from an child support order already and i got sentenced, Am I obligated to pay also in arizona state too? I receive an order from DCSS to establish paternity for my child. I already did that in Mexico in 2011. I got my residence card in 2014 and now live in Ca. I still do my monthly payments and have all my receipts. But know shes trying to do another order against me in arizona state. Is that legal?

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      There is a process by which you get certified copies of your orders from Mexico and register them with the Court here in Arizona and show that support is being paid. It is not a process that can be answered in a setting like this, but you need to get certified copies from the court in Mexico and have them translated. Your response to the petition to establish is important as well because you need to tell the court that another court has already established paternity.
      If you would like to set up a consultation to go over this in more detail, click here to schedule an appointment.

  4. It has taken 15 years for Maricopa County to take get serious about my ex never paying ANY child support. With interest he owes $49,000. He was arrested for contempt and sat in jail for a few months. Finally his sister agreed to pay his purge. His sister’s attorney told me in pre-trial conference that I would receive the all the purge money as payment toward arrearages. I have received nothing and have been looking to the internet for answers. DES website says they hold the purge money in a trust – but do not say for how long. Other sites say it goes toward fees for wage attachment and other court actions taken to make him pay (15 years worth of court actions would deplete purge money quickly). My question is what happens to purge money and will I ever receive any of the money he has paid monthly since his release? I feel like DES used me to fill their coffers. I would appreciate your expert opinion on this. Thank you.

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      I am sorry to hear that your journey has taken so long. To answer your question, the purge should be given to you. However, if it is a Title IV case where DES is enforcing the support order on your behalf, then they would be entitled to keep a portion of the purge to cover their costs of enforcement (things like filing fee, subpoena fees etc.). I would contact the child support clearing house to find out how much money is in the ATLAS account and make sure that your contact information is current with the clearing house and that you have direct deposit set up. If all of that is in order, then at the next review/enforcement hearing scheduled, tell the Court you have not received any of the purge funds and the Judge will help get to the bottom of the issue.

  5. I filed child support modification paperwork with the court and I sent the copies along with the court hearing date paper I received from the court restricted return receipt by certified mail to my ex and they refuse to sign for the paperwork.
    What happens now?

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      If they refused to sign for the envelope, then you will need to have him served personally by a process server. You will want to make sure you let the Judge know that he refused and ask that he be responsible for paying you back the cost of the process server.

  6. In my court order it states my ex is to claim 2 of our children on his taxes. If he has arrears is he still allowed to claim the children or am I then allowed to ? Is their a certain amount he has to be in arrears where I am then allowed to claim them or the amount does not matter? Please advise.

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      The specific language of your child support order is controlling. I would begin by reviewing the order in detail. The court may deny the other parent the right to claim a child if not paid in full during a given year, but again your child support order controls. I have included a link to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines for your reference.
      http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/31/GuideSched10072011.pdf

  7. My ex and I have a 10 year old daughter together. She lives with me and sees him 2-3 times per week. We never legally established custody. They only financial obligation he has paid in the past 4 years is child care of $150 per month. I have taken financial responsibility for everything else. Do I have a fair chance at getting child support?

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      Child Support can still be established even though the child is now 10 years old. The court cannot order back owed child support from birth to present, but they can order some. I would reach out to a family law attorney and schedule a free consultation to discuss this further along with the other issues the court will be forced to address regarding your child.

  8. My child is 28 and still paying same child support when my child was under 18 I did owe arrers should I file for modified support and will my payment go down Even tho I didn’t file years ago will the payments I made go to the arrears

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      Whether or not your payment is reduced depends on a number of factors. If you did not file to modify your child support after the child turned 18 or graduated from High School, you should do so immediately as not all of the monies are being applied to the arrears owed. The burden is on you to file to modify the ongoing support (the change is child is now eighteen or graduated) and so any monies being paid are applied directly to the arrears balance.

  9. My child support payments were recently reduced, but the change took some time to activate in the child support clearinghouse system. Because of the delay, several thousand dollars are owed back to me which had already been paid to my ex. I have been told that I have to wait for my girls to emancipate out of the system before I can request reimbursement for the overages which have already been paid out. Is this correct? Or can I request repayment now?

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      Thank you for your question. The answer will seem unfair, but under Arizona law, your obligation to pay must end. So, if that means your children turn 18 or graduate high school (whichever is later), you have to wait until that time. However, lets say that situation changes and the children live primarily with you and the other parent is ordered to pay support now, you could then file because your obligation to pay has tended. A.R.S. 25-527 addresses the issue. It is important to note that you must file your petition with the court for reimbursement within twenty four (24) months after the order terminates or you loose right to file for reimbursement. Here is a link to the statute. http://www.azleg.gov/ars/25/00527.htm

  10. I am in a relationship with a man who was recently served with papers to appear in court regarding back child support. A brief background: 1990 he and wife divorce with custody agreement for their 3 yr old daughter. He is paying child support as the non-custodial parent and has parenting time. 1993 the mother moves out of state without notice or a forwarding address. Unfortunately, instead of calling the court (or anyone) Dad spirals in to a debilitating depression leading to addiction. 1996 he gets it back together, meets a woman, gets married and has a baby. They remain together 14 years, during which he is a stay-at-home dad and she worked full-time for AZ DES. They divorced 2010 and I met him in 2011. Upon learning he had a lost child out there I set out to reunite them. And did so in 2015, including 5 grandchildren, and we have been helping her financially since. Nov 2016, he is served to appear in court and we went and discovered that he is $25,000 in arrears and owes $49,000 more in interest. Yet, in 26 YEARS, they never tried to contact him? Or enforce this sooner? I mean, it’s not as if he couldn’t be found, after all his next wife worked in THEIR offices. Really?
    So now I have a couple of questions.

    1) As we are substantially assisting the child (who is 30) financially each month, is it possible to petition the court to pass a judgement in her favor to received the arrears payments?

    I spoke to his daughter but she thought her mother had told her when she was young that she owed the state and that was why they didn’t receive any money from her father. If indeed that was the case,

    2) Can he request a statement listing all aid provided by the state to his ex that is now owed by him through support payments?

    I would question any organization 26 years behind, especially since the woman left the state and any monies owed would have accrued after her leaving. How does that work? In court, the Attorney General’s lawyer suggested a payment of $150/mo would satisfy them and the Judge said he thought a payment of $500/mo would be more suitable. With an net income of $1200/mo that seems a bit much, considering he covers about $350/mo for his daughter and grandchildren now.

    3) How many other 26 year old cases have been suddenly dusted off and pursued by a pressured DES in order to appease Doug Ducey’s “$100,000,000 campaign promise” plan? Also, how many of those cases are being issued higher than standard payment orders as a result of politics, not a justified interest in children’s well-being? They didn’t pursue this when it would have benefited the child but now when it benefits only the State, it is of dire importance.

    I am not saying he should pay his arrears, he should and will. However, his child should be the beneficiary, at long last, of the support not received previously. Furthermore, the State’s motives appear self-serving only in this instance. Who address issues such as that?

    Thank you for your patience and time. Any advice would be welcome.

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      Thank you for reaching out. While this forum is not the appropriate place to discuss specific details of his case, I can say that there is no statute of limitations (no cut off time) for when child support arrears can be collected upon. The person to whom the money was owed (Obligee) is the only person who can agree not to pursue collection on the child support orders. It may be worth the person who owes the money (Obligor) reaching out to that person and asking if her or she will waive the back owed funds or even just the interest, which would substantially reduce the balance owed. Arizona law places the burden on the person paying, when changes occur, to seek redress from the Court.

  11. My ex refuses to give address, and his boss claims him as an independent contractor because he also does side cash jobs . His boss always claims he paid less less than he did and is a friend if his families. He has not filed taxes in years . Would I need a lawyer, or is this an issue Des deals with. Also , how can I ensure the support is calculated on his true income ? Can they make him submitted bank record at least?

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      Rule 49 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure addresses what information each party is required to exchange, when issues of child support arise. This rule is automatic, meaning you should not have to request it from the other party. However, not all parties play by the rules and at that point the Arizona Rules of Family Procedure provide some other mechanisms for insuring the appropriate information is disclosed to determine his true gross income. The challenge becomes knowing which mechanisms to use and when. DES does require the parties to exchange documents, but given their case loads, it is hard for them to enforce the discovery rules or to even know if the the parties have exchanged the appropriate information, until minutes before the hearing is to take place. It is always best to be proactive before hand rather than reactionary at the time of the hearing.

  12. if my ex was court ordered to provide health insurance and it was stated on the divorce decree that he was to provide it since 12/2008 and i have been the one actually paying and providing it since 2010 would i get reimbursed for those years? Also, is he required to give me a copy of his previous years filed taxes? I am trying to modify child support but I’m getting NO help from him.

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      The court will enforce the order that the other party provide health insurance. If you have been paying the premium, the Court may very well order he reimbursement, but seven years of premiums may be hard for a court to justify ordering. Typically when this happens it is advised that child support be modified because more than likely the other spouse received a credit in the calculation for paying. As for previous taxes, generally child support orders will direct the parties to exchange information in intervals, so you will need to look at your orders to find out how often they are to be exchanged. Once a modification is filed, you are both required to exchange financial information so child support can be calculated. It is worth having an attorney look over the paperwork and help you run a child support calculation.

  13. I have 2 sons with my ex, the youngest is 18 and will be graduating from High School in May, 2017. I’ve been paying child support, child support arrears and spousal maintenance since August, 2003 when we divorced. I have never been late or missed any payments. The child support arrears, if I calculated correctly would have been paid in full in 2011 and the spousal maintenance would have stopped in 2007. This was all based on my income in 2003 and never modified as we never exchanged financial information over the years. After he graduates I was hoping to stop the Income Withholding Order & Support Order by agreement since I will no longer be obligated to provide any support. However, my ex says she will not agree as I never provided her with the required financial information over the years to modify the Order, so she may be due additional support for the periods when my income increased. My income also decreased when I was out of work several times. Will I be held liable for not disclosing my tax and income statements to my ex (she did not provide me hers either) and will the court try to figure out my income for each period/employer to compensate my ex or will they base it on pay at my current job or not matter anymore since my son is now an adult? If the court holds me liable and I have to pay additional support, can I request the overage I’ve paid in child support arrears and spousal maintenance be applied towards any new support payments?
    Thank you for your response?

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      Once your son graduates, you will want to file to stop the income withholding order. The only reason the court would keep it in place is if you did owe arrears. If neither of you filed a modification then the original order controls and so if you are current on your payments, then there would be no reason, over her objections, that the court would keep it in place. If you fail to take action then the order will remain and find will continue to be withdrawn.

  14. How does one establish residency status in AZ for child care obligations while in a VA (Veterans Administration) service connected disability rehabilitation program in another state?

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      It is not clear what you are asking, but I believe that you are asking if Arizona can order child support if you are not living in Arizona. If that is the case, the issue becomes where is the child living, where has the child been living for the past six months. If a child has been in Arizona for the required amount of time before filing and there have not been orders entered in another state for child support, then Arizona can establish a child support obligation even if one parent is not present in Arizona. I caution you that there is a lot of factors that go into whether or not you should file paperwork in Arizona if you do not live in Arizona so please consult with an attorney in a private setting to determine if it is possible and whether or not there are any unwanted ramifications for doing so.

  15. My childs father is not working at the moment (his choice) he is currently watching the baby while I work. He is planning to go back to work soon and in the mean time, interviewing people to watch our child at either one of our homes while we are both working. This expense is much more than a standard daycare and much more than I am comfortable or even able to pay half of. I estimate this will be about $1800 per month. I would be ok with checking out different options for local daycares and he does not agree with that. With all of this said, if he INSISTS on having an in home care person for the child will the court not order him to pay any child support to me? I am the primary custodial parent, he is obviously with the baby a lot more now since he is not working and watching him. He will make more money than me, and he has many more assets than I do. I am over here hardly able to pay my bills as it is and worried they are going to order zero support with what he is planning to do. Any insight?

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      The child support guidelines provide that even if a parent is out of work, they should still be providing financial support for their children. The Guidelines provide that the court an attribute income to a parent, even if they are not earning that income at the time. This is an analysis that should be conducted prior to filing for a modification to find out if that is in fact the best court of action. As for the childcare, If you are paying for it, the actual costs of the child care will be added into the child support worksheet and that will in fact change the child support obligation. I would schedule a time to talk with an attorney in in private to discuss the details of your matter and determine which course of action is best.

  16. I currently have a court order in place, and recently last year filed a enforcement of child support for my soms father. He didnt show up to the sec court date so judge issued a warrant and cash purge amt that needed to be paid to. Ring him fwd. He was ordered to take the receipt up to courtroom 305 after purge was paid to schedule a court hearing. …. he was arrested and released on bond which was the purge amt last month there was no court hearing scheduled…. the warrant was dropped because he bonded out before seeing judge… i dont know what to do now.. is there something i can file to advise judge warrant was dropped without him scheduling hearing ? The case is open

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      I would file requesting the court set a status conference on the enforcement. Explain what transpired and why a status conference is needed. Most Judge’s are willing to set a status conference. You may also try calling the Judge’s Assistant and inform this person what happened and ask how they want you to proceed.

  17. April 14, 2016, my 16 year old grandson came to stay with me, His mom and dad are divorced, I received no support of any kind (except medical) which was ordered thru the divorce to be paid my his mom along with child support. His mom has not worked since december 2015. She was behind on childsupport and recently made a payment to the courts. (2195.00) His mom is my daughter. Dad is the receiving end of child support. April 13, 2017 I was granted emergency guardianship. Dad has kept the child support even though my grandson has lived with me. What can I do.

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      There are ways and means for that support to be re-direct to you. Without all the facts at play, a formal direct answer to your question cannot be given at this time. However, it generally sounds like you would want to contact an attorney who handles guardianship matters. They can assist you in seeking an order from the juvenile court that the support be re-directed as you are the one caring for the child, not the biological parent who is currently receiving the funds.

  18. My daughter is turning 18 this august, but she still in High School for one more year.
    I had court papper with the date of her birthday, where the child support will stop.
    So, what is gonna happend?
    She will continue having child support till she finish High School, or the child support agencie will follow, the court decision?

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      Under the Arizona Child Guidelines, child support continues until the child turns 18 or graduates High School, whichever occurs last. Usually child support will continue until one the parties files paperwork with the Court. If would be wise to take a copy of your current child support order and have an attorney review it to make it provides for support as the guidelines provide. If not, a modification may be needed.

  19. My income withholding order along with all support orders terminated by the court on June 21st. However my ex had filed a motion in May to enforce dental coverage because she wants me to pay for expensive Invisalign for adult son. I received order to appear, signed June 5th, to determine if relief should be granted. Am I still obligated to provide dental insurance after my child support was terminated by the court? Thank you.

  20. Question, my ex husband was MIA for 15 years. I never obtained any child support. Went thru really hard times as a single parent. My youngest one is now 17. My Ex husband has re surfaced, can I go back and obtain child support for all the years that he was MIA?

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      Arizona law allows a Judge to go back as far as two years from the date that someone files a Petition to Establish Child Support, but it is not mandatory and it is up to the Judge hearing your case to decide. It is also important to note that Child Support typically ends when a child turns 18 or graduates from High School, if in school when they turn 18.

  21. I am currently receiving support for my son in which DES is involved and it was ordered that we alternate tax years for the child tax credit, given that his support payments are current and arrears for the calendar year are paid. I claimed my son for 2016 because based on the DCSS pay history it shows he was behind for the year. His attorney and him are saying otherwise and threatening to sue. Looking at the pay history, how do I calculate what was paid for each month and the year? Is it based on when the payments were received or what month the payments were credited to?

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      The Arizona Child Support Guidelines explain that the Court may order that a parent loses the right to claim a child if they are not current on child support in that year. Look at Section 27 of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines as it discusses the issue. I have included a link below. You will also want to review the language in the child support order to see if the court ordered the restriction.

      AZ.gov/guidelines

  22. My husband’s ex wife is asking for an increase in child support. We have 50/50 custody and ALL child care costs are split 50/50. He pays ~$100 to her each month for the medical insurance premium. She has asked for an additional $300 per month above and beyond the ~100 for health insurance.

    Is this reasonable? What if any advise can you offer?

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      Arizona follows a set of guidelines when calculating child support. If parties cannot agree on a child support amount, then the court will decide based upon the guidelines. Below is a link to the guidelines and the child support calculator. Whether or not someone’s request is reasonable is very fact specific and completing a child support worksheet often times will reveal if the request is reasonable.

      http://www.azcourts.gov/familylaw/2015-Child-Support-Calculator
      http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/31/Child%20Support/2015CSGuidelinesRED.pdf

  23. I have 50/50 parenting time for 3 kids but my oldest has lived with me for over a year. Her father hasn’t contacted her but twice to ask about gifts. She turned 12 two years ago. When I modify support can I have the 10% adjustment for children 12 and over applied retroactively to her 12th birthday? Also, is it likely i can have his rights to her severed due to abandonment in title 8?

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      Author

      If an order for support already exists, it is unlikely that the court will go back in time and make the adjustment. The burden is on the parents to file for modification when things change. I would urge you to talk with an attorney regarding your situation as there was an Arizona Supreme Court decision earlier this year that, based upon the facts you described, would apply in your matter.

  24. My ex and I were divorced in 2008 and have had an order to pay child support in place since then. In those 9 years he has only paid about 2 years of support. I provided proof of the first year and the second has been through the State. I opened a case with AZ last year and have been getting paid through them when he works. They still have not established an amount he is in arrears, which will be quite a bit. What is the process to do so and how long should I take? It’s quite hard to get any details from the State.

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      Author

      Because there was an order for child support back in 2008, you will have an account at the clearinghouse. Your account number is your ATLAS number. If you don’t know your ATLAS number look at a recent court order in your case and it will be located near the case number. The primary role of the clearinghouse is to account for each payment due and whether the payment was made or not. To acquire a clearinghouse statement, go to your local Superior Court and see the Clerk of the Court. Ask them for an accounting of the child support payments to include an arrears calculation. Arrears, is the term used to identify unpaid child support. There is a fee for the report but that report will have the information you are requesting. To seek payment on the arrears balance, you can file for an enforcement and request that the arrears amount be converted into a Judgment and for an additional amount of money to be added on to the current child support order to begin repayment of the child support arrears.

  25. If my husband is paying child support to his 15 year old son and his son mother kicked him out. How do we go about stopping child support? His son lives with us now.

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      Author

      In order to modify the amount of child support currently being paid to the Mother, it would be necessary to file for a modification of parenting time and child support. However, from the brief history provided regarding the situation, I would advise you to speak with an attorney before filing for the modification as there are larger issues which need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

  26. My child support order was recently terminated when my son turned 18. Him and his mother live out of state. He is currently still in High School. She failed to contest the termination in the given 90 days. Now she is saying she is getting it reinstated and I will owe back support for the last three months. Can she do this and how easy will it be for her?

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      Author
  27. I was divorced in 2010 and at the time I wasn’t working I was unemployed. When the divorce was finalized the amount of money I had to pay was based on the last job I had. Sence 2010 until now I haven’t had any jobs that payed the amount for which my child support was calculated for. Also during this time I have been playing my ex wife cash directly to her and she has not inforeced the child support. Now Should I try to modify my child support for what I’m making now or should I continue to just give my ex wife cash directly to her.

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      Author

      I would caution any person from paying cash directly to the other party. Under Arizona law, these can be seen as gifts and not actual payments towards child support. Unfortunately what you have created is a mess and I would highly recommend meeting with an attorney in a private setting to discuss who to clean up the current situation prior to seeking a modification of child support.

  28. Hi, I’m the NCP with arrears which I pay each month along with my normal payment. My question is related to reporting to the credit bureau agencies. Even though I’m paying on time each month it’s still being reported that I’m 180 days past due. Why is that? I’ve called the state and have been told twice they don’t even report to the bureaus. Do I have options?

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      Author

      Thank you for your question. In this case, I would contest the information directly with the credit bureaus and if you can prove that your payments are current, they should remove the negative report from your credit report.

  29. Hi, my husband and his ex-wife divorced 12 years ago and decided on no child support. He pays medical support, 50/50, and what ever my step son needs. She is now wanting to file for child support. The child is now 15 years of age. Can she go back and ask for child support now, after all these years, even though in the original decree it states that he does not have to pay for support. If so, how difficult is it for her to obtain that?

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      Author

      The Arizona Child Support Guidelines provide that if there is a substantial and continuing change, the parties may modify child support. One would assume that if it has been twelve years since the last time child support was addressed, there very likely would be substantial and continuing changes that would warrant a modification of child support, but in order to determine with certainty that there are, you would need to meet with an attorney in a private setting to discuss the specifics of your matter.

  30. My son is about to turn 18. I am in arrears but have been making an extra payment on top of normal child support for years. Once he turns 18 and I’m only obligated to pay the arreas amount, will it be at a lesser rate than the full payment I’ve been making?

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      Author

      The Arizona child support guidelines provide that the child support continues until the child turns 18 or graduates High School, whichever is latest. The burden is on the party paying to file for modification when the time is appropriate. The court may allow you to make changes to the amount you are required to pay each month, but you must request that it be reduced when you file to terminate.

  31. I have a question on behalf of my son.Right now he and the mother have equal time, she states since he works 3 nights out of the week and I put his daughter to sleep at night, mind you he picks her up after work. But she says she is taking him back to court because he does not spend enough time, as well as she has the right to know his managers name and hours he works. Is this true and will a court over turn the order because he works late hours? Thank you in advance.

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      Author

      Your question deals more with parenting time and the case is very fact specific. I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with an attorney where the issues can be discussed in private and under the protection of attorney-client privilege.

  32. I am paying child support for a child who lives in Vegas, the mother refuses to give me the social security number of my daughter so that I can file taxes. Would the ss number be on the child support order itself? Where would I go to get a copy of the order?

    Thank you.

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      Author

      If your name is on the birth certificate, you can go to your local security office and request a duplicate social security card. In Arizona, the Child Support Order usually does not contain the social security #, only the name, and date of birth. However, at the beginning of the case, a party files a sensitive data sheet which contains the social security #’s for all parties. You can go to the courthouse and inquire about getting a copy of that Sensitive Data Sheet. However, if the case was not filed in Arizona, you will need to seek information from the court where it was filed.

  33. If my exhusband pays child support and the visitation and vacation times with the children is part of the basis of how much support he pays, andwhen he has never had the children for the times he wanted for holidays, visitation and vacations, can support be modified to pay for all the times I had the children and he was supposed to and didn’t?

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      Author

      The Arizona Child Support Guidelines is what the Courts look to in addressing issues of child support. The Child Support Guidelines say that ”when proof establishes that parenting time is or is expected to be exercised by the noncustodial parent, an adjustment shall be made to that parent’s proportionate share of the Total Child Support Obligation.” The wording of the guidelines makes it difficult to predict what a Judge would order because it says that the Court shall make adjustments for parenting time, but it says is or is expected to be exercised. You are likely going to get varying responses by different Judges based upon varying individual circumstances. It may be worth talking to an attorney in private about maybe modifying the parenting plan if he has failed to comply with the parenting time order for six months or more.

  34. So my kids are 30 and 28 now and AZ child support has been garnishing my wages. The interest is a crazy amount. I’ve been pay for years and it never goes down because of interest. Now on my credit score is says that the child support is closed but still is garnishing me. Any ideas or thoughts on this? Thanks in advance

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      Author

      The first place I would check is to make sure that the ongoing child support has stopped and that you are only paying on the arrears (back owed). The burden is on the payor to go to court and get the order stopped for ongoing support. As for your credit score, the credit bureaus control that information and their decision to drop the judgment from your credit score is not tied to the legal obligation to pay. I would contact the clearing house to verify the current status and determine if you are paying on arrears only or if there is still an active order for support.

  35. My so. has his GED and has just turned 18. His father who pays child support has not requested a modification (we have 2 other children together) and has continued to pay his original amount ordered. When he does file for modification am I responsible to pay back the portion of child support that was allotted for my now 18 year old? He pays $900 for our 3 kids so should I be saving $300 for each month he pays to pay back until he files and we actually go back for modification which can take a few months? Or is the support legal for me to keep since he has failed to request the modification for the update? I still have my son at home who is a full time student.

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      Author

      The presumption is that the child support should end upon the child turning 18 or graduating/obtaining a GED, whichever is latest. You could be held responsible for any overpayments. If you are concerned about it, I would file to modify. A.R.S. 25-527 provides that a party can file to seek reimbursement from you for any amounts paid in excess over and above the amounts ordered. We like to focus on the outcome and if you do not want to owe him money or fight and bicker with him, then just simply file and avoid the headache.

  36. I have a friend who is a father of two. His parental rights were recently terminated via court decision. One of the major stipulations of removing his parental rights was that his ex-wife’s husband (the step dad) would be adopting the children. Does he have any ability to stop child support payments at this point since one of the reasons for termination was adoption? I fear this was another ruse by his ex and her husband has no intention of adopting his kids, and will be happy to keep getting his money. My understanding is even after termination of parental rights he still has to pay child support, which he is willingly doing. Does he have any rights to stop payments or must he wait until this supposed adoption goes through?

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      Author

      Child Support continues until the Adoption is finalized. Parties may execute a written document signed by both parents that any back owed child support is waived from the date of the decision to adopt.

  37. My ex and I have had 50/50 custody since the divorce finalized Dec 2016 which I am the one made to pay him $100 a month in child support since I made more than him at the time because I had two jobs to help pay my court/attorney fees for the divorce. Pretty soon after that though I started going to school and I did inform my ex of that and my attorney about the changes, I left it up to my attorney to take care of whatever needed to be done to modify child support as I thought I only needed to let him know and he’d tell me what I needed to do, which he pretty much said okay and never told me I needed to fill out anything. Later he told me he was waiting to file something till he heard back from ex’s attorney about agreeing on a family coordinator that never happened. Also summer of 2017 my ex got a full time job and his financial situation changed but he never filed his changes as it states you are supposed to do within 10 days otherwise it’s considered contempt of court in the papers you fill out for your financial info. I had stopped paying child support last summer as I didn’t think I needed to but he filed to enforce child support in March 2018 which I did pay it up to date and the court filing fee. At that time, I figured out what I was supposed to do and filled out the necessary paperwork and gave it to my attorney to submit for a modification, also back in the middle of March. I kept hounding my attorney asking if it was turned in and even said I could go back to his office to get it and turn it in myself, he kept insisting that it’s better for an attorney to do it but he kept making excuses for not doing it yet, either he was waiting for the other attorney to get back to him for other issues so he could file all together(custodial interference by my ex and a lot of other things) but I kept pressing him to at least turn in my financial things for a modification review as I don’t want to have to pay my ex if I don’t have to. So now my ex filed another enforcement and we have a hearing for it on Aug 23. My attorney informed me that he finally turned in the papers I filled out and my tax return for this year. I understand that I will probably have to pay another $400 for the child support owed since March along with my ex’s filing fee again. Also, I’m due to have a baby in September and I will finish school soon after but I am not going back to work for a while so that I can be home with my baby and my other two children when I have them 50% of the time. So I’ve asked my attorney how we are supposed to get my ex to turn in his financial information and he just keeps trying to get ahold of my ex’s attorney. They rarely contacts us back about any issues we have and quite a few of them are very serious. I got an OP on my ex back in May and then he got one on me the same day he was served so we are only allowed to discuss the kids health over texts and anything else needs to be through mediation or court. I guess my question is can I request he turn in his financial information at the hearing this week or explain the situation to the judge and see what he says or will he just tell me I need to pay the child support and court fees and that I need to file something else to request my ex’s information? Also since my ex’s information changed last year, after we establish his info would the court order back payments or just moving forward he’d have to pay? I’m already looking for another attorney(however, he will be at the hearing on the 23) because I need a lot of help that this attorney doesn’t seem to be helping me with or think is a priority and I always pay thousands in advance so that I’m never behind or even close to getting low on how much money my attorney has so honestly there’s no excuse to put my issues with my ex on the back burner(even though he’s a huge pain to deal with). For over the last year my fiancé has been paying for all of our expenses and he’s the one that paid the child support in March and he will this time if I have to pay it, but he also pays any extra expense for my kids that my ex doesn’t want to pay including school lunches because obviously we don’t want my son to go hungry on days we don’t have him. So last question, since I have not been the one making any money over the last year will the court make my fiancé pay my ex child support or is there a way my ex gets to know my fiancé’s financial information and be entitled to it for child support?

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      Author

      This open forum is not the place to discuss details regarding your specific case, however I would look to Rule 49 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure as it outlines what you two must disclose. I would also look to the Order to Appear for the hearing as it often times states what must be disclosed. Letting the Court know before the hearing that he has not disclosed the necessary paperwork is important and the way you do that is by filing a notice letting them know and asking that the hearing be continued. I would also schedule a consultation with an attorney where you can discuss the particulars of your case in private.

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