Child support is a natural part of the divorce process in Arizona. The parent who has the children for the majority of the time is the one who receives support payments. While the court tries to be fair in its assessment of income and setting the amount of support, you may still not completely understand how it arrives at the figure it does.
The Arizona Judicial Branch explains there are many guidelines the court must follow when determining child support. Some of them are fairly obvious, such as comparing the incomes of the parents, but others are not so obvious even though they may have a big impact. Here are three of the points you want to note.
1. Income is more than earned wages
The court can count any type of money you receive, from prize winnings to your earnings from a job. It also may consider Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability when figuring your income.
2. Starting a new family will not reduce your obligation
If you get remarried and now have stepchildren to support, the court may not consider that when determining your child support payments. Supporting a new family is voluntary in the court’s opinion. Your financial obligations lie with your natural or adopted children.
3. Child support takes priority
Regardless of whatever other expenses you have, child support is the topmost priority. You should pay it before anything else. The court may not prioritize any other expenses you have over it. Since it is held as a priority in the eyes of the law, you should take any child support obligations seriously and work to ensure fairness in the award amount.
These are only a small look at the different aspects of child support. The guidelines are lengthy and detailed to help ensure each party understands and knows what to expect from the court.