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ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

Arizona child support is based on specific criteria relating to income and the number of children in the household. In every child custody case, there will be a determination of support. Under the guidelines, support payments are in an amount calculated to meet the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance.

The Arizona Child Support Guidelines serve three fundamental purposes:

— “Establish a standard of support for children consistent with reasonable needs of children andthe ability of parents to pay.”

— “Make child support orders consistent for persons in similar circumstances.”

— “Give parents and courts guidance in establishing child support orders and to promotesettlements.”

The guidelines include several basic premises:

–The guidelines apply to all children. Whether adopted or born out of wedlock, it makes no difference for child support purposes.

— Child support is a priority financial obligation. A parent’s other debts are usually not considered in determining his or her share of support.

— Every parent has a legal duty to support his or her natural or adopted child. Support of a stepchildis purely voluntary.

— Support is calculated on a gross monthly income basis. Adjustments to the support are annualized to achieve a monthly figure. This allows for an equal monthly distribution of the cost item over the course of a year.

In any action involving child support, the amount calculated under the guidelines is presumed tobe the amount the court shall order paid. The court can make an exception if it would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances. In that situation, the court may deviate from the guidelines by increasing or decreasing the amount of support.

The amount of support is calculated by considering many factors, including the parents’ gross incomes, extraordinary medical expenses, work-related daycare expenses, and the number ofchildren residing in the home, among other things.

Child support is presumed to terminate on the last day of the month of the youngest child’s 18th birthday. If the youngest child won’t graduate from high school before the 18th birthday, then support ends on graduation or on the child’s 19th birthday, whichever is first to occur.

There is an important circumstance when the court may order child support to continue beyondthat child’s age of majority and into adulthood. For the court to order such support, the adult-child must have a significant mental or physical disability that prevents him or her from livingindependently. The controlling Arizona statutory provision is found in A.R.S. § 25-320(E)

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