When it comes to family law, child support cases can be some of the most challenging and emotionally taxing. A dedicated Glendale, AZ, child support attorney can provide legal relief and advocacy at every stage of the process. Whether filing a petition for child support or modifying or enforcing an existing order, the Lazenby Law Firm has the experience and resources to help parents across Maricopa County.
Child support payments represent financial stability and well-being for young children, and Arizona law requires non-custodial parents to make monthly payments to cover expenses like food, clothing, housing, and healthcare. However, because child support often involves many moving parts, the process can be challenging to navigate.
Like other states, Arizona has strict guidelines that dictate how children receive financial support whenever their parents become divorced or separated. These financial obligations ensure that children’s basic needs are met and are calculated by the courts through a series of legal frameworks. Across the state, the Income Shares Model is a fundamental tool used to determine the monthly amount of financial support a parent must pay.
Every child support case is different, and the courts will consider many factors to help determine a final amount, such as:
Overall, child support in Glendale and across Arizona is designed to reflect the amount of money parents would provide their children if they still lived together as a family unit. As such, the court’s main objective is to provide fair and consistent standards for determining a financial plan that works for all parties involved.
While many parents may be tempted to resolve family law matters, including child support, on their own, these processes can be particularly complicated. Whenever your child’s future is on the line, it’s always better to have an experienced attorney to advocate on your behalf.
Hiring a specialized child support attorney ensures you are comprehensive throughout the process. Family law in Arizona requires careful consideration and technical knowledge. When you want the greatest outcomes for you and your child, a child support attorney will support you at every stage of the process and help you navigate and resolve any potential complications.
Although the guidelines for determining child support follow specific calculations set by the state, child support attorneys have the specialized skills and knowledge to navigate these figures efficiently. As such, they can help identify strategic factors to ensure the courts award a fair amount of child support you deserve.
As with divorce and other family law matters, child support cases can often lead to disputes between both parties. An attorney can protect your interests through effective representation to seek a favorable outcome whenever any litigation is required. Depending on your situation, a child support attorney can:
In some cases, child support matters may be resolved outside the court system through mediation or negotiation. Child support attorneys can work with the other party to reach a settlement and ensure that your child’s interests are prioritized.
Whether you have full or partial custody of your child, understanding the process for calculating child support is critical. Many factors can determine the outcome of child support, and even small changes in a party’s finances or personal life can have long-lasting effects on child support obligations.
When the child support process begins, the courts will first look at the gross income of both parents. Gross income can include money from a variety of sources, including:
Like other states, Arizona considers the percentage of parenting time as a critical factor in setting child support. The more time a parent spends with their child, the more expenses they will incur. As such, child custody amounts are often adjusted to ensure that non-custodial parents contribute a reasonable amount of child support based on the percentage of time they spend with their child.
The number of children involved in a child support case can significantly impact child support calculations. Arizona law provides several guidelines for parents with multiple children. The more children a parent has, the less they’ll have to pay per child.
After reviewing each party’s financial records and other documentation, the courts will use these figures to determine the base child support amount due each month.
However, in some child support cases, adjustments for expenses can affect the final amount. Some standard adjustments that the courts often consider include:
Depending on the case’s unique circumstances, the courts may also consider special needs and unusual circumstances for reducing or increasing child support amounts. Arizona law allows the courts to deviate from the state’s guidelines on an as-needed basis whenever there’s a reasonable finding.
In Arizona, all child support orders stay in place until a child turns 18; however, there are some instances where child support may extend beyond a child’s 18th birthday.
The most common scenario involves a child’s high school graduation status. If a child turns 18 while in high school, child support payments must continue until they graduate or turn 19.
While the courts have a legal obligation to ensure that children’s basic needs are met, parents in Arizona may choose to set their own terms rather than rely on a judge. However, it is wise for parents to submit these arrangements for approval to ensure that all parties involved are protected under the law.
A child support attorney can help parents navigate this process by formalizing the terms in a written agreement known as a stipulation. Stipulations ensure that these agreements are enforceable by the courts and can help prevent complications down the line.
Many parents in Arizona enjoy equal custody of their children. This means they share the same amount of parenting time, and children go back and forth between two parental homes.
Because of the state’s Income Shares Model, calculating child support for joint custody parents can be complicated and vary from case to case. Generally, whenever parents have similar incomes, the courts may find that no child support is necessary from either party because each fulfills their duty of care; however, when parents have disproportionate incomes, the higher-earning party will likely be required to make child support payments despite sharing equal custody.
Child support orders can change over the years due to numerous factors and circumstances. Some common situations that call for a change to child support include:
Like other family law processes, modifying child support orders can only be done formally through the court system. Under Arizona law, in most cases, parents must show that a child support order would change by at least 15% to be approved.
The first step is to file an official petition with the court that outlines the request to modify child support obligations. An attorney can help prepare the necessary documents, including a financial affidavit, a detailed case summary, and other relevant information.
Depending on the circumstances, you’ll need to gather sufficient evidence to support changes to a child support order. Evidence can include financial statements, employment contracts, medical documents, school registration forms, or any other documentation demonstrating the need to reduce or increase child support obligations.
After all parties have been notified and all documents submitted, the courts will review the request to determine if changes to child support are warranted.
Whenever a parent disagrees with modifications to child support, they may file a response to contest the changes. This process is similar to other Arizona family law disputes and requires a formal complaint and evidence to support the response. A judge will schedule a hearing to review the evidence and make a determination.
Arizona has various legal avenues to ensure that parents pay their child support as required by the courts. These mechanisms can vary from case to case, but generally include:
When a parent fails to pay for child support, the consequences can be devastating. As such, an attorney can provide legal support to streamline the enforcement process and determine viable avenues for relief.
In addition to filing the necessary documents and litigating in court, child support attorneys often negotiate settlement agreements with the non-paying party. Negotiation can be an effective way to settle back-pay arrangements and can help both parties avoid a lengthy legal battle. If you’re struggling to receive child support payments, a Glendale, AZ, child support attorney can help.
Whenever one parent moves to another state, child support obligations still apply. Child support orders are legally binding, and relocation does not affect or modify their active status.
Arizona’s out-of-state child support is backed by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This federal law ensures states maintain enforcement and jurisdiction rights of child support obligations, even if a parent relocates. As such, this law also establishes cooperation between different state courts and agencies to enforce child support payments and hold non-paying parents accountable.
However, if both parents move to a different state, the new state will take over jurisdiction. Depending on the circumstances, the custodial parent may need to file a petition to modify the order before relocating.
Family law cases can be some of the most delicate to navigate, especially when children are involved. When you’re dealing with child support-related matters, a trusted child support attorney is vital. Child support cases often involve complex financial issues, litigation, negotiations, petitions, hearings, and other moving parts.
Because child support orders remain active until a child turns 18, these cases can have a profound and lasting impact on all the parties. Although many parents choose to navigate the process without legal representation, a child support attorney has the experience and knowledge to pursue the most optimal outcomes.
If you’re looking for a Glendale, AZ, child support attorney, contact the Lazenby Law Firm. Our team has spent over a decade providing compassionate representation for parents looking to resolve child support cases. Contact our firm today for a consultation.
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