In most divorces that involve children, the parent receiving child support is also the child’s primary caretaker. Arizona courts have long recognized that many recipients of child support rely heavily on that assistance to help pay for housing, food and other expenses related to proper child rearing. In fact, data taken from national statistics in 2011 indicated that as much as 52 percent of the average income for custodial parents who were considered impoverished came from receiving child support payments.
Child support is a huge issue in Arizona family courts. According to a 2012 U.S. Census survey, there were 1,619,585 children living in the state that year. Further research showed that 36 percent or 587,383 of those children were living in households with just one or no parent present. Even more alarming is that the report revealed those numbers would likely have been even higher if surveyors had included households of children living with married stepparents or foster parents.
Currently, Arizona uses a set of guidelines to determine how much a noncustodial parent should pay the custodial parent for taking care of their child. This is usually a monthly amount and based largely on a spouse’s income.
The problem is that these guidelines may not necessarily reflect your current situation. For example, if you are a self-employed individual or you work seasonally, it may be difficult for you to demonstrate to the court an income that accurately reflects the fluidity of your bank account. It may be unreasonable for a court to order you to make monthly payments for child support during periods of the year where you have little or no actual income.
Your Arizona family law attorney can represent you in your pursuit of a child support modification. Your inability to pay child support should not necessarily be construed as your unwillingness to meet your parental responsibility. Perhaps having your child come to live with you might be a more appropriate resolution. Taking action now to modify your child support order could save you a great deal of legal problems later down the road.
Source: Arizona Supreme Court- Administrative Office of the Courts, “Arizona Child Support Guidelines Review” accessed Feb. 03, 2015