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How does unemployment affect child support income determination?

When the determination of gross income is made for a Arizona child support case, there are numerous factors that are taken into consideration. In some instances, a parent is unemployed or earning less than what would be considered, "full earning capacity." This will affect the entire case and how it is handled. Understanding this is a key to a case.

Parents who are unemployed or working below full income capacity will result in the court considering the reasons. It is possible that this is a matter of choice, and there is no reasonable cause associated with it.

If that is deemed to be the case, then the court might attribute income to the parent, independent of what they earn. The court has the right to attribute \ income up to what their earning capacity.

If the reduction in the parent's income is voluntary, but reasonable, the court will balance that with how the reduction impacts the child. The best interests of the child will always take precedence.

The parent who is ordered to pay child support will have at least the current state minimum wage attributed to them. If there is income attributed to the custodial parent who is receiving child support, there can be childcare expenses attributed as well.

There are certain cases where the courts will not attribute income. They include the following: if a parent is mentally or physically disabled; if the parent is receiving training for basic skills; if there are any unusual needs that make it necessary of the parent to stay in the home; or if the parent receives Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

For parents who are having a child support dispute, the financial needs will be paramount. And, determining the gross income of the parents is a major part. For assistance, a legal professional who is familiar with the Arizona guidelines is imperative whether it is the supporting parent or the custodial parent and in all circumstances.

Source: AZCourts.gov, "Arizona Child Support Guidelines -- 5. Determination of the Gross Income of the Parents -- E.," accessed Aug. 7, 2017

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