Children who live in households with two parents receive support from both adults while under the same roof. However, children who live with only one parent due to their parents’ separations, divorces or other personal choices many not directly experience the support of the parents that live out of their homes. In Arizona, courts can order that noncustodial parents pay child support in order to provide financial sustenance for their kids.
In Arizona, a child support order is based on the state’s guidelines. Arizona’s child support guidelines stipulate that both parents’ incomes be considered when making a child support award; the theory on which the guidelines are based is called the Income Shares Model. The guidelines provide some direction for courts that must make child support determinations all while ensuring that the best interests of the children are met.
Child support should be used to benefit the child and to help the child meet the child’s reasonable financial needs. It is generally not support that goes above and beyond what the child would need to maintain the lifestyle the child had before the end of the child’s parents’ relationship. However, if a child requires financial assistance that exceeds the amount stipulated by the state’s guidelines, a court may increase the support amount to accommodate that particular need.
Child support is not a punishment for a parent but rather a duty to ensure that a child has what he needs to live. Parents who are engaged in child support disputes with their former partners, as well as individuals who may be struggling to keep up with their child support payments, can benefit from working with family law attorneys. Falling behind on one’s child support obligation can not only set a parent up for legal hardships but may also damage a child’s livelihood if the child does not receive the support the child needs.