SUMMARY OF ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
Child Support in Arizona is determined pursuant to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.The Arizona Child Support Guidelines can be somewhat complex in application where various factorsare in dispute. The following is a basic description of how the Child Support Guidelines work for thereader's ease of understanding.Child Support is based upon the parties' combined incomes (i.e. the higher the incomes, the more thecombined child support obligation. In order to determine child support pursuant to the Arizona ChildSupport Guidelines, you first insert both parties' incomes, which results in a basic child supportobligation attributed to both parties. The child support obligation is divided between the parties pursuantto percentage of their respective income.
For example, if Mother earns $7,500.00 per month, and Father earns $2,500.00 per month, the percentage is 75% Mother and 25% Father. This does not mean that Mother owes Father a child support obligation. If Mother is the primary residential parent, Father may owe Mother 25% of the child support obligation while Mother "assumes" 75% of the obligation through her normal financial support of the children while they are in her primary care.
If the parties have equal income and equal parenting time, there may not be a child support order. If oneparty is the primary residential parent, the other party will generally have to pay child support (but notalways depending upon the circumstances).The more children the parties have, the higher the child support obligation. However, such is not a directcorrelation (i.e. having two children does not result in a child support that is double that realized if theparties only have one child). Rather, the Child Support Guidelines recognize an economy of scale (i.e.that it does not cost two times more to raise two child rather than one).The obligated party often does not realize the party receiving child support also has a child supportobligation. Such is realized pursuant to the assumption that the cost of providing primary support for thechildren exceeds the amount received in monthly child support.After inserting each parties' incomes, there are various adjustments that take place before determiningthe final child support obligation:1. If one parent pays spousal maintenance to the other parent, the paying parent's income is decreasedand the recipient parent's income is increased by the amount of such spousal maintenance award. Thischanges the percentages of the parties' respective incomes, which in turn changes the amount of thechild support obligation.2. If a party has other children (i.e. children from prior or subsequent relationships), such party willreceive a further downward adjustment to their income in the amount of their child support obligation(or presumed inherent child support obligation pursuant to the guidelines), which results in a change tothe percentages.