Given the rising costs of living in Phoenix and the skyrocketing costs of childcare, receiving the amount of child support you’re entitled to is essential. Similarly, ensuring that you’re paying the correct amount of child support is vital as overbearing child support payments can be crippling. The courts do their best to get it right, but they aren’t always able to do so. Additionally, courts can’t see into the future to anticipate changing circumstances. Because child support is a delicate topic requiring the utmost care in establishing support or defending against support actions, hiring the right family law attorney is essential.
Arizona Attorney Mitchell E. Cohen has successfully represented clients since beginning his practice of law in 1982. Mr. Cohen is not a generalist – his practice focuses solely on family law. As a result, Mr. Cohen has taken on more than 3,000 family law matters and understands the financial and emotional toll that these matters bring. Mr. Cohen believes that compassion and honesty are the keys to success in family law, and this approach has garnered him the reputation for being one of the preeminent divorce and family law attorneys in the greater Phoenix area.
For 2018, Mr. Cohen has received “Top 10” ratings from the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys and the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. If you are seeking to establish support, collect owed support, modify support, or defend against a collection action in Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, or Phoenix, please contact our office today to set up a free consultation.
How is Child Support Calculated in Arizona?
In Arizona, child support obligations are calculated in accordance with the income shares methodology utilizing the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. The income shares model is a two-step calculation. In the first step, the total amount of support needed by the children is determined and in the second step, the amount of each parent’s responsibility is calculated.
To calculate the default amount owed, the court will combine the income of both parents to establish a single income amount. The court will then reference the combined income of the parents to a statutorily imposed scheme to determine the amount of total child support the child or children should receive. Once the amount has been determined, the court will apportion that amount between the two parents based on their income. As an example, if the court determines that the parents owe $1,000 and parent 1’s income makes up 60% of the total income, then parent 1 will have an obligation of $600 while parent 2 will have an obligation of $400. The amount each parent owes is prorated to their proportional share of the combined income.
The court can take into account extenuating circumstances such as special needs, education, healthcare, etc. Having a child support attorney who understands what courts will and will not consider can be the difference between being apportioned the correct amount of support and having a financial shortfall. At Cohen Family Law, we use our extensive knowledge and experience in these types of cases to ensure that the correct amount of support is apportioned.
Can Child Support Orders be Modified in Arizona?
Child support orders can be modified under Arizona law. Changing circumstances can’t be predicted by the courts, and the child support system does not automatically recalculate the share of support you’re entitled to receive or required to pay. If you or the child’s other parent has had a change in circumstances, you may be in a position to petition the court for a modification order. Courts will modify support based upon a “substantial and continuing change of circumstance” which may include one or more of the following:
- the current support order does not contain a directive to obtain medical support and either parent now has access to reasonable healthcare for the child
- significant changes in medical insurance coverage occur
- one of the children becomes emancipated
- one parent has a significant change in income, although a voluntary reduction in income will generally not constitute grounds for a modification order
- changes in daycare or childcare costs
- either parent has another child
- the division of parenting time between the parents change
- incarceration of the noncustodial parent
- either parent becomes disabled.
Even if you have lost your job and do not have the income to pay the child support, you must petition the court for a support order modification. Failing to pay can be disastrous and should be avoided at all costs. Failure to pay child support can result in wage garnishments, bank levies, and even incarceration. Modifying a support order is relatively common as everyone experiences changing circumstances throughout their life. However, choosing the right child support attorney to petition the court can be the difference between financial support and financial ruin.
Contact Our Phoenix Child Support Lawyer
At Cohen Family Law, we have decades of experience in successfully representing parents in child support disputes. We understand the unique stress that accompanies family law matters, especially those involving children, and tailor our representation to help you move forward with your life in the courtroom and outside it. We are compassionate and highly skilled, especially in cases that involve children. If you have questions relating to child support in Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, or Phoenix, please contact our office today to set up a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can dedicate our time to helping you.