Here at Louis K. Lombardo, Family Law Attorney Blake & Pulsifer, PLC we proudly represent clients in Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Tempe & other cities throughout Arizona in child support & other family law matters.
How Much Will Child Maintenance End Up Costing?
The Court will calculate everything in your case based upon a set of guidelines issued by the Arizona Supreme Court. Generally, the calculation will depend on the total gross income of the parents, child care costs, the cost of your kid’s medical/dental insurance, age, how much time is spent with each parent, and possibly other extraordinary expenses incurred. AZCourts.Gov has a calculator that you can use to get an estimate.
Does The Amount of Time I Spend With My Kid Make a Difference in The Calculations?
Yes it does. The more time parents who live in Arizona spend with their children, the less they pay. Usually the court decreases the amount of child support to be paid depending on how may days a month the parent sees the children on average. The theory is that the more the non-primary parent has his or her children in their care, the more direct aid (e.g., food, clothing, shelter) they provide to offset the primary residential parent’s need for extra money. The issue of Custody & Decision-Making is discussed here.
Who Will Be Responsible in Paying For Daycare?
If daycare is required, the court usually will include the amount of the day care costs in its calculations. If day care costs are included in the calculations, then the parents share the cost in proportion to their gross incomes.
What about medical and dental bills?
The cost of the medical insurance premium is treated similarly to day care costs – i.e., the amount of the medical insurance premium is factored into the overall calculations, and each parent will pay a share of that cost in proportion to their incomes. The parent who carries the policy (whether through their employment or otherwise) will pay the medical insurance provider, regardless of whether they receive or pay child support. If the parent who pays is also the parent who carries the medical insurance coverage, they receive a credit against the amount they pay for their proportionate share of the cost of the premium.
For medical bills not covered by insurance in Chandler Arizona, each parent pays a share of the bill in proportion to their incomes. The uncovered medical bills are not factored into the calculations, however, and it is up to the parent who incurs the bill to seek payment from the other parent. Usually the court directs the parent who incurs the bill to send a copy to the other parent, and the other parent is expected to pay their share directly to the parent who sent the bill.
Do I Still Have To Allow Visitation If The Other Parent Isn’t Paying?
Yes. Arizona law considers the issues of visitation and maintenance cases to be separate and distinct, so the custodial parent must continue to allow the non-custodial parent to visit with the children despite the non-custodial parent’s failure to pay. The reasoning is this: orders are intended to provide for the financial needs of the kid(s), and visitation (parenting time) orders are intended to promote a meaningful relationship between the kid and each parent. Because of this distinction, one parent’s failure to pay support will not excuse the other parent’s failure to allow visitation.
Am I Supposed To Write a Check Each Month?
The court will normally enter an Income Withholding Order that directs your employer to withhold a certain amount of money each month from your paycheck to cover the obligation. To determine how much will be withheld, multiply the monthly payment by twelve (to get the yearly total), then divide that yearly total by the number of pay periods you have in a year. For parents who are paid every other week, divide the yearly total by twenty six. For parents who are paid twice a month, divide the yearly total by twenty four. The court will usually withhold an additional fee for processing the wage assignment.
If the court does not enter an Income Withholding Order or if the Income Withholding Order does not go into effect at the time you are ordered to pay, you should send your check directly to the Payment Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse processes all payments and keeps records. Sending your payment to the Clearinghouse will help avoid any confusion if a dispute arises over whether a parent has paid all of the amount ordered by the court.
Where Do I Send The Check?
If your employer is not withholding child support from your pay and you have not been ordered to pay the other parent directly, you should make your check payable to the Support Payment Clearinghouse. You are required to send an additional handling fee of $5.00 per month with your payments.
Support Payment Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 52107
Phoenix, AZ 85072-2107
Can I Get a Record Of The Payment Made?
If the payment is made from the method mentioned above then you can get a record of them through the Clerk of the Court in the Superior Court where your case was filed. There is a fee for the official payment history records.
Protect Your Rights!
If you or a loved one is going through a divorce in Chandler Arizona or another family law matter don’t hesitate to call us at 480-838-3000 for your $250 initial case consultation.