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Can mothers be compelled to pay child support?

Every year, many Arizona families are pulled apart by divorce. Though divorces are often necessary to allow the partners to failing marriages the opportunity to move forward with their lives, those parties to the divorces are not always the only ones affected by the legal proceedings. Children often carry heavy burdens when their parents go through a divorce, and they can suffer significant upheaval in their post-divorce lives.

One way that the Arizona courts attempt to mitigate the challenges faced by children of divorce is through the establishment of child custody and support plans that serve the best interests of the children. While matters of custody address where and with whom a child will spend his or her time, child support matters address how the parents will financially support their child.

The Arizona Child Support Guidelines, promulgated just last year, address child support in a gender-neutral manner. In other words, the obligation of a parent to pay child support should not automatically be placed on the father; child support is generally paid by the noncustodial parent, regardless of gender.

A custodial parent is the parent with whom the child primarily lives, and in Arizona this can be either of the child's parents. In a situation where a father is granted physical custody of his child, the child's mother may be compelled to pay child support for the youth's financial needs.

As every child support and custody case is different, readers of this blog are encouraged to seek out their own advice regarding their divorce and other family law dilemmas. However, the requirement that a parent must pay child support should not be based only on a parent's gender. Custody and a child's best interests are significant factors that will guide a family law court to determining how child support payments should be established.

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