I was honored to serve on the Supreme Court Committee to Modify the Arizona Child Support Guidelines several years ago. Arizona has a pretty strict formula for calculating child support. It takes into account the income of each parent, the cost of insurance, the cost of daycare and the amount of parenting time or custody that each parent has. There are other factors the court considers such as other children from other relationships. Often times in my initial consultation I can give my client a rough idea of what child support will look like.
Child support orders are not permanent, in fact in many cases they change several times throughout the children’s lives. Changes in income, changes in the cost of daycare, changes in the parenting time schedule and one child turning 18 are just some of the reasons that child support can change.
Many of my clients get “sticker shock” when they find out how much child support can be with preschool children. That is because usually the court has the parents share, in proportion to their income, the cost of daycare. These days child care for just one child can be over $500 a month and a parent who is earning the higher amount can be forced to pay hundreds of dollars in addition to the regular child support amount. On the other hand, anyone who has raised young children and had to go to work knows that this is a very expensive time for the children.
Another important thing about child support is the term, “past care and support.” In the section on Paternity on this website this is discussed in detail, but in a nutshell the court can go back three years and enter a judgment against the father for thousands of dollars of past child support.