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Arizona child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Arizona child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Arizona Child Support determined?

Child support is based on the "Income Shares" model.  The court will approximate the amount that would have been spent on the kids if the parents and the children were living together. Then each parent will be ordered to contribute a proportionate share of the total child support.

Because the custodial parent's support obligation is satisfied by the daily care of the child, he or she is not required to render payment to the child support registry.

The court is also responsible for including in the record a finding of gross income, adjusted gross income and the total child support order.  However, if the court makes the determination to deviate from the "Income Shares Model," the factors listed below provide the framework for the child support order:

  • financial resources and the child's needs
  • financial resources and needs of the custodial parent
  • child's standard of living during the marriage
  • child's educational and physical needs
  • possible fraudulent dispositions of community property
  • duration of visitations and related expenses

The child support obligation has priority over all other financial obligations. Non-support related expenditures and the support of step-children and parents do not justify a deviation from the "Income Shares Model" support guideline.

At what age does child support payments end?

Generally, when the child reaches 18 years of age or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. A child automatically becomes ineligible for child support if he/she marries, is adopted, or dies.

Arizona's custody guidelines:

No preference is given based on the sex of the parent. The court considers the best interests of the child, and the following factors:

  • the preference of the child
  • the desire and ability of each parent to allow for an open and loving and frequent relationship between the child and the other parent
  • the wishes of each parent
  • the child’s adjustment to his/her own home, school and community
  • the mental and physical health of the child and both parents
  • the relationships between the child, the parents and any siblings
  • evidence of significant physical abuse
  • any coercion or duress in obtaining a custody agreement
  • who has provided primary care of the child
  • any evidence of drug abuse

Arizona's medical insurance guidelines:

Generally, medical health care insurance and uninsured medical bills will be decided as part of the divorce agreement. However, if a medical insurance plan is available through a parent’s employment, they are required to cover their children on this plan.

How permanent are the provisions for Arizona child support and custody ?

Court orders for support and custody of children are subject to modification if there is a substantial change in either of the parties’ circumstances, such as a significant increase or decrease in income.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Arizona has a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support.

Ttypically, the support is withheld and then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once verified, the support is sent to the custodial parent.

How does joint custody work?

Joint custody requires both parents to share the responsibilities including approving all major decisions related to the children.Joint or shared custody may be awarded if both parents submit a written agreement providing for joint or shared custody, and the court determines it’s in the best interests of the child. The court can order joint custody over the objection of one of the parents.

The primary joint custodian typically retains the decision making power to determine the child’s primary residence and school and to designate things such as the child’s primary physician.

How Arizona determines child visitation:

Arizona uses a standard visitation schedule considered to be in the best interests of the children. Although parents are generally free to visit with their children at all times mutually agreed to by the parents, the standard visitation schedule provides a safe and acceptable solution for those times when parents cannot mutually agree.

  • every other weekend
  • summer visitation of four to six (4 - 6) weeks
  • alternating holidays