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Child support calculations in Arizona

What you need to know

Bewildered about how child support is calculated in Arizona and who pays it? This legal guide will help simplify and demystify the process for you. And you don’t have to be a CPA to understand it.

Calculating financials

It can sometimes be overwhelming to try to determine the proper amount of child support payments. This is true even in states such as Arizona that provide online child support calculators. The first step should always be getting an accurate handle on both parents’ income, expenses, assets, and debts.

Most states have a state-approved form that both parties must use to list all the following:

  • Income, such as salary, wages, bonuses, tips, inheritance, trust funds, or disability benefits.
  • Expenses, such as those for other children not born of this union (whether court-ordered child support or not) or household costs such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, or automobile loans, insurance, and upkeep.
  • Assets, which are things that can be converted to cash.
  • Debts, which are moneys owed, more often on a long-term basis than monthly.

This form may be called an Affidavit of Financial Information (AFI), Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS), or a similar name. But no matter what the name, the most important thing to remember is that both sides have to complete the form. Don’t worry that you are disclosing anything the other side doesn’t have to disclose. Be as honest, forthright, and complete as possible because it will only hurt you if you are not.

Adjustments to the default number

From the default amount of child support based on the comparative gross income of the parties, courts may make reasonable adjustments because of surrounding circumstances. These may include but are not limited to:

  • One or both parents having children from other relationships whom they are supporting, with or without a court order.
  • Extraordinary child expenses, such as where a child is gifted or has diminished capacity.
  • Child care costs, but only if you are eligible for the federal tax credit on your personal return.
  • The child being older and thus having more expensive needs (in Arizona, any child age 12 or above automatically garners a 10 percent upward adjustment).

It is important to look pragmatically at all costs associated with raising children but be reasonable about estimating the costs. Do not expect an adjustment simply because it might benefit your bottom line. If this happens, consider it to be a pleasant surprise.

Dividing medical costs

Many people assume that judges always order a 50/50 split between parents in handling expenses such as medical and dental costs for children. But in Arizona, the parent deemed to have the majority of the financial responsibility—that is, the child-support payor or obligor—bears the entire duty and burden of carrying health insurance for the child or children at issue. This parent is assessed the entire cost, even if the child-support payment recipient, obligee, or payee—nearly always the custodial parent—can get better or cheaper coverage. If neither parent has access to any health insurance other than AHCCCS (pronounced access), the state’s low-income health plan, then there is an attributed amount.

Any uninsured medical expenses  generally are divided in proportion to each parent’s percentage of the parents’ combined gross income. This also applies to child-dependency tax exemptions or visitation-related travel costs.

Changing child support in the future

Much can happen in life after the first child support order is issued. Don’t fret if you don’t get it perfectly “right” the first time around. Child support amounts can be modified as long as there is a “substantial and continuing” change in circumstances or something comes to light that would result in at least a 15 percent upward or downward adjustment (paying at least that much more or less). These circumstances might include:

  • Changes in employment status and/or pay by one or both parents.
  • Changes in health care insurance availability and cost.
  • Changes in day care need and cost.
  • Other financial changes relating to the minor child or children’s needs.

Child support is not forever

Just as children grow up, child support eventually ends. The law says that it continues only until a child graduates from high school or turns 19 years old, whichever happens first. Of course, you can contract for an extension of the child support period, but it is not required.

If you are still paying child support and your children have aged out of the system, something is wrong, unless you still owe arrears. Be sure to consult with an attorney experienced in child support matters to resolve this situation.

Don’t guess

It’s OK to experiment with the online worksheet. It doesn’t “go anywhere.” It isn’t reported to any official of a government entity, the other parent’s attorney, or anything like that unless and until you file a copy with the court.

Before you do so, it is a good idea to run your numbers by an experienced Arizona family law attorney. He or she can help maximize the amount you receive or minimize your expenditures, depending on which side you are on, or at least ensure that the numbers are as accurate as possible. Don’t leave this important aspect of child custody to chance.

What people are saying about Joan Bundy Law…

Having you for a lawyer was the best thing I did…

Oh my goodness! I have been at this for months! I can’t thank you enough for helping me through it! You made all the difference. Thank you again Joan! Having you for a lawyer was the best thing I did in this whole thing.

— E.H. | Post-decree matter

E.H.

…I really appreciate all of the help you gave me!

Thank you…for all of your help with this case, as well as being so patient with the other party and their lawyer. I really appreciate all of the help you gave me!

— C.R. | Animal law matter

CR

Thank you Joan…

Thank you Joan for your legal advice and your good listening ear.

— P. S. | Animal law matter

PS

…I feel like I’m on cloud nine!…

OMG…I am still soooooooo happy, I feel like I am on cloud nine!! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You again…I don’t feel like I can say it enough!

— E.B. | Child visitation and support matter

EB

…I feel like I’m on cloud nine!…

OMG…I am still soooooooo happy, I feel like I am on cloud nine!! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You again…I don’t feel like I can say it enough!

— E.B. | Child visitation and support matter

EB

…I’d be lost without you…

I greatly appreciate all your help and knowledge, I’d be lost without you in all this and you made me feel at ease and calm. It was great getting to know you. Thanks again!

— M. F. | Child custody matter

MF

…I can’t express our gratitude and appreciation enough!…

[We] want to thank you for all your help with this!! … I can’t express our gratitude and appreciation enough! I couldn’t have done it without you! We will be in touch!

— T. S. | Parental termination matter

TS

…Yes, we did triumph…

Thank you, Joan, for everything….Yes, we did triumph. I hope that [father] could see that I truly am moving forward for the kids’ sake.

— A. A. | Child custody matter

AA

…I was so glad to have you represent me.

Thank you for all of your help and noticing the refund. … I was so glad to have you represent me.

— S. S. | Divorce/relocation matter

SS

…Thank you for being an advocate for animals.

I need to remember that there are good people out there like you! Thank you for being an advocate for animals.

— M.V. | Animal law matter

MV

Thank you so much…

Thank you so much for your boost and help!

— M. S. | Divorce matter

MS

We would like to thank you for everything…

We would like to thank you for everything. We will be in touch.

— J.R | Child custody/Support matter

JR

…I appreciate your help!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate your help!

— M. S. | Divorce matter

MS

…thank you for helping me…

This is a scary place to be and thank you for helping me to navigate through it.

— D. .M. | Divorce matter

DM

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Thanks Joan as I have stated before…YOU ROCK!

— D. .M. | Divorce matter

DM

…you have been a good listener.

Thank you so much.  You have helped me so much with good legal advice and beyond that, and more important, you have been a good listener.

— R.P. | Legal separation/Divorce matter

RP

…I highly recommend [Joan] for all your personal legal needs.

Joan is a great person, with compassion, and knowledge to help you through troublesome times. She realized that I had particular problems in my divorce, and helped me with timeliness and professionalism that a quality attorney gives to her client. She listens well and represents honesty. I highly recommend her for all your personal legal needs.

— J. S. | Legal separation/Divorce matter

JS

…I would highly recommend Joan to anyone who wants someone with intelligence and integrity to represent them.

Joan helped me through a very long and difficult process, trying to collect on a settlement. She put a lot of time and effort into my case and never gave up. As a result, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and can take a deep breath! I would highly recommend Joan to anyone who wants someone with intelligence and integrity to represent them.

— C. W. | Post-decree matter

CW

…I really felt like she cared.

I hired Joan to handle my divorce. Although the process itself was difficult, Joan made it much easier. She handled my case with compassion and professionalism. She gave me a clear and accurate fee schedule so I knew exactly how much I could expect to pay. She was always available to answer any of my questions or concerns. I really felt like she cared.

— S.P. | Divorce matter

SP

I was very impressed with the legal services that Joan provided…

I was very impressed with the legal services that Joan provided and she was able to assist in me getting my overpaid alimony money back.

— S.H. | Post-decree matter

SH

…I am so glad I hired Joan for my issues.

I initially talked with another firm (a large family practice here in Phoenix) and I just did not get the warm and fuzzy feeling that they were going to do everything I required. Joan certainly did and I am so glad I hired Joan for my issues.

— S.H. | Post-decree matter

SH

…I recommend her highly.

Joan is a very intelligent and professional attorney that listens carefully and offers very sound advice. I recommend her highly.

— L. N. | Initial consultation

LN

…Words cannot express what peace having you involved gives us.

Thank you for all your help thus far. Words cannot express what peace having you involved gives us.

— K, S. | Guardianship matter

KS

When I couldn’t even get a call back from ANY attorney with my problem, Joan called me back.

When I couldn’t even get a call back from ANY attorney with my problem, Joan called me back.

— C.R. | Animal law matter

CR

…[Joan] continued to assist me and give me courage to my favorable conclusion.

Even though she felt I could handle my situation without an attorney, she continued to assist me and give me courage to my favorable conclusion.

— C.R. | Animal law matter

CR

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— T.D. | Same-sex matter

TD

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When I found myself in the unthinkable with the end of my 16 year marriage upon me, I reached out to Joan.  She responded to me in less then 24 hours and helped put me at ease in reference to his threats.

— M. F. | Divorce/Pet custody matter

MF

…[Joan] can only be described as compassionate and competent in her handling of my case.

From the moment I began working with Joan, she can only be described as compassionate and competent in her handling of my case.

— M. F. | Divorce/Pet custody matter

MF

Joan was very motivated, organized, responsive, and thorough in communication.

Joan was very motivated, organized, responsive, and thorough in communication.

— B. F. | Same-sex matter

BF

She is very supportive of families of all make-ups…

She is very supportive of families of all make-ups and understands Arizona laws surrounding married, unmarried, and LGBT families.

— B. F. | Same-sex matter

BF

…If you are looking for a kind and trustworthy attorney, hire Joan Bundy.

[E]very email and phone call I made, was returned personally by Joan within 24 hours. If you are looking for a kind and trustworthy attorney, hire Joan Bundy.

— W. S. | Legal separation matter

WS

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Communication via email, phone or otherwise is immediately addressed, and, quite frankly, after utilizing the services of another similar attorney, Ms. Bundy is stellar compared to what we have dealt with in the past.

— K.R. | Post-nuptial matter

KR

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The communications process was smooth and efficient, professional and left us in no doubt whatsoever Ms. Bundy had our best interests at heart.  She is a very caring, understanding and compassionate attorney – a true rare breed in today’s world!

— K.R. | Post-nuptial matter

KR

I found her to be competent, professional and assertive…

I found her to be competent, professional and assertive when she needed to be. I would highly recommend her if you are looking for an attorney.

— C.W. | Post-decree matter

CW

…I would definitely recommend Ms. Bundy as a divorce attorney.

She was aggressive, but appropriate, in her dealings with my ex-husband, for which I was grateful.  Additionally, she was very ethical in her billing practices.  I would definitely recommend Ms. Bundy as a divorce attorney.

— K.H. | Divorce matter

KH

…In the courtroom Joan was assertive, took action, and was effective.

Ms. Bundy displayed a genuine concern for the outcome of my case and put heart and soul into every action.  In the courtroom Joan was assertive, took action, and was effective.

— L. S. | Child custody matter

LS

…Joan was always professional, timely and compassionate…

As a single parent of four children navigating a complicated history of court filings, proceeding, evaluations etc… I needed someone knowledgeable and sensitive to the nature of not just the case but the family behind it. Joan was always professional, timely and compassionate concerning my families wants, needs, financial situation, and overall desired outcome.

— L.S. | Child custody matter

LS

…Thank you, Joan, for helping us with our case!

Communication was quick and clear, and we would recommend her for anyone of need of legal services. Thank you, Joan, for helping us with our case!

— N.R. | Animal law matter

NR

…Joan is honest and upfront and I couldn’t have asked for a better attorney.

I was very emotionally distraught and I had no idea what to expect in court, but she was very supportive and reassuring. Joan is honest and upfront and I couldn’t have asked for a better attorney.

— N.H. | Protective order matter

NH

…[Joan] is supportive of families regardless of what they look like, and was very comforting during a very difficult time.

Joan was very friendly, knowledgeable, and thorough in preparation and communication. She is supportive of families regardless of what they look like, and was very comforting during a very difficult time.

— B. F. | Same-sex matter

BF

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I called Joan, and she first calmed me down and told me all would be all right and it was going to be fixed. When I called her, I was an emotional wreck, and she helped me get myself back together so that she could help me get this done.

— R. A. | Divorce matter

RA

…My divorce was as quick and as painless as it could possibly be because of her quality work.

I can speak volumes on her professionalism, amazing response times and great character. She was always available by phone, email or in person. My divorce was as quick and as painless as it could possibly be because of her quality work.

— J. M. | Divorce matter

JM

…I really felt like she cared.

She handled my case with compassion and professionalism….She was always available to answer any of my questions or concerns. I really felt like she cared.

— S.P. | Divorce matter

SP

Joan handled my case with a great deal of professionalism.

Joan handled my case with a great deal of professionalism.

— D. M. | Divorce matter

DM

…you get what you pay for with Joan…

[A] good family law attorney is going to be relatively expensive… it is a field that requires loads of knowledge, experience and time. At least you get what you pay for with Joan, and without “surprises.”

— J. L. | Child custody matter

JL

…[Joan] eased my concerns and kept me informed throughout every step in the process…

She responded quickly to every email I ever sent her and patiently answered all my questions, eased my concerns and kept me informed throughout every step in the process, a most important courtesy when going through such a difficult time.

— J. L. | Child custody matter

JL

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She has worked hard and efficiently with me to ensure that I had the best possible shot in court and represented me very well when the day finally came.

— J. L. | Child custody matter

JL

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Throughout everything, Joan handled the situation with the upmost professionalism. We highly recommend her for working with same sex parents or opposite sex parenting plan needs.

— Anonymous | Same-sex matter

Anonymous

Joan was very professional while handling my case…

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— D.M. | Divorce matter

Anonymous

Joan was very professional while handling my case…

Joan was very professional while handling my case against an attorney that was less then ethical. Joan held her ground and remained confident the entire time.

— D. M. | Divorce matter

DM

I would highly recommend Joan Bundy…

She is and has been very organized and keeps up to date with details regarding my case. She also has taken swift action when it has been necessary. I would highly recommend Joan Bundy if you are looking for an assertive, capable and compassionate attorney.

— C.W. | Post-decree matter

CW

[Joan’s] patience with me not only helped win both legal cases, but has allowed me to start getting back on my feet.

I was facing a couple of different legal as well as medical problems and Joan was always very patient, doing what I asked unless there was a specific or strategic reason not to. Her patience with me not only helped win both legal cases, but has allowed me to start getting back on my feet.

— Rob | Avvo, 2011

Rob

Joan Bundy is a family attorney who is very dedicated to her profession…

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— S.B. | Child custody matter

SB

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I know the best thing I could have done was hire her as my attorney in my situation being I have children I wanted my divorce done right. Joan surely did the job. She won my case all the way and I would definitely keep her as my lawyer for anything in the future.

— S. S. | Divorce matter

SS

[Joan] showed that she was very easy to talk to she listened…

When we first met with the lawyer she showed that she was very easy to talk to she listened gave us options and did not come across stuffy like the first one we had talked to from another firm.

— K. M. | Post-decree matter

KM

…We couldn’t have asked for a better representation.

You have really helped us get on top of this situation and gave [us] the confidence that [we] needed to be able to put [our] foot down for [our] daughter. We couldn’t have asked for a better representation.

— C. M. | Post-decree matter

CM

You are the greatest!…

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— C. R. | Animal law matter

CR

…She listens well and represents honesty.

Joan is a great person, with compassion, and knowledge to help you through troublesome times. She realized that I had particular problems in my divorce, and helped me with timeliness and professionalism that a quality attorney gives to her client. She listens well and represents honesty.

— J. S. | Divorce matter

JS

You have been a great influence and help in my life.

You have been a great influence and help in my life.

— M. S. | Divorce matter

MS

I will continue referring others to you…

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— R.R. | Child-custody and child-support modification

RR

Joan proved to be very knowledgeable and competent…

I used Joan’s practice for my divorce. Although it was quite straightforward, no debts, no estate, no kids, the difficulty was that from my part, it was long-distance and international since I reside in France. Joan proved to be very knowledgeable and competent, she gave me clear information and advice about what would happen and the applicable laws.

— V.J. | Divorce matter

VJ

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— J.V. | Post-decree modification/relocation matter

JV

[Joan] is the most professional lawyer I have ever had…

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— A.C. | Child custody matter

AC

Contact a Chandler legal separation attorney

If you are thinking about filing for legal separation or have to respond to a petition for one, be sure to consult with an Arizona family law attorney who is knowledgeable in and has considerable expertise with legal separations. Do not go it alone.

Call Joan Bundy Law at 480.463.4600 to find out how an experienced Chandler legal separation attorney can help guide you through the complexities.

Contact Chandler divorce and family lawyer Joan Bundy.