If you are going through a divorce and have children, the issue of child support will need to be addressed by a court. You cannot negotiate child support without the approval of an Arizona court. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse discuss child support, you need to have an idea of what to expect when a court calculates the amount of financial support and how that financial support is enforced. The answers are in this article.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Arizona courts have embraced a set of general parameters for calculating child support in the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. If you want to get an idea of the amount of child support that may be ordered in your divorce, there are child support calculators available online. You should also know that a court considers the following factors when calculating child support:
- The income of both you and your spouse
- Whether you or your spouse is supporting another child
- The cost of daycare
- The cost of health insurance
As mentioned, most judges will follow the Arizona Child Support Guidelines when calculating support, but the guidelines afford discretion for judges to deviate and modify the child support amount if the judge reasonably determines that this is in the best interests of the child.
How Is a Child Support Order Enforced in Arizona?
Once a court calculates child support, it will enter a child support order detailing the amount of support and the basis for reaching that amount. If a parent fails to comply with the child support order, you can file a petition to hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court. A judge is empowered to send a non-paying parent to jail if it determines that the non-paying parent is aware of the order, has the means the pay the support, and is not fulfilling their obligations. The court is also empowered to suspend the non-paying parent’s drivers’ license.
The court, however, is required to include in its order a lump sum amount, referred to as a purge payment, the parent can pay to secure his or her immediate release from jail. The purge amount must be an amount the parent is capable of paying.
Can Criminal Charges Be Filed Against a Non-Paying Parent?
There is a criminal statute under Arizona law that may be used to file charges against a non-paying parent. However, you would need to contact a state or county attorney and request that they review the facts to determine whether it makes sense to move forward with charges.
Can the government garnish wages to pay child support?
A court can issue a wage assignment. This is an order requiring an employer to deduct child support obligations directly from a paycheck and send payment to the Arizona Support Payment Clearinghouse. This is an extremely important order since it simplifies the process of obtaining the support and making sure it winds up going to the child.
Tempe Support Enforcement Lawyer
The Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack has helped to guide many parents in Tempe, Arizona, and surrounding areas through the child support process. For over twenty years, we have worked to obtain the right amount of money to provide for children after a divorce. To schedule a free initial consultation to speak with an experienced Tempe divorce attorney, contact us online or by calling 480-345-2652.