In most cases, Arizona parents who are ending their relationship and share a child will certainly want to adhere to the best interests of the child and have a child support agreement in place. However, there is often a question as to how long the child support guidelines dictate that the supporting parent make payments. Child support does not go on forever and the parents must know when the payments will end.
When the initial order or the modified order is made, the court establishes an end date for the payments. There is a presumptive date of termination on the last day of the month in which the youngest child in the order turns 18. This will be true unless the child will not have graduated high school by that date. If that is the case, the termination date will be the final day of the month in which the child is anticipated to graduate from high school or when he or she turns 18, whichever comes last. This date will be on the administrative income withholding order. Depending on the individual situation, this date can be changed.
If there is an employer or other entity that pays funds and has an Order of Assignment or another order to withhold payments, it will have the presumptive termination date. The payments will stop after the last pay period for the month when the presumptive termination of payments is reached. If there are income withholding orders that include payments for arrearages, the withholding will continue until there is a further order.
To determine the presumptive termination date, the following presumptions will be in place: a child who has not yet started school will entire first grade if he or she is 6-years-old on or prior to September 1 of the year he or she turns 6 - if not, it will be presumed that the child will start first grade the next year; and the child will graduate in May after finishing 12th grade.
It is essential for parents to understand the Arizona Guidelines for all aspects of child support including when the payments will terminate. For advice and legal assistance with child support in any context, the supporting parent and the custodial parent should contact and discuss the matter with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Source: des.az.gov, "Arizona Child Support Guidelines -- 4. Duration of Child Support," accessed on July 17, 2017