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In a previous blog post, we discussed how Arizona law provides for stiff penalties against parents who fail to make child support payments once the paternity of a child is established. Typically, non-payment of child support will result in an arrest warrant being issued and the non-paying parent will be arrested. In some cases, those placed in custody will not be released until they pay a “purge amount” that is decided by the court.

The good news is that a parent who is experiencing difficulty making child support payments can petition the court for relief before the situation results in jail time. Arizona law on child support payments is based on a set of guidelines. These guidelines take into consideration several factors including both parent’s total gross incomes, the costs of child care, costs related to medical and dental insurance for the child, the child’s age and even the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

Under Arizona law parent cannot deny another parent visitation rights for failure to pay child support. Additionally, courts are allowed to consider the amount of time a child spends with a parent when determining child support payment amounts under the above-mentioned guidelines.

A court may also consider why a parent is unemployed or not earning their full potential wages when making a child support determination. In some cases, a court can decide that a parent’s child support obligation should be reduced. For example, a parent who is currently attending school to develop a marketable skill might be eligible for some relief.

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