Child support is a parent’s legal obligation to financially support his or her children. It is intended to ensure the children are adequately provided for without government assistance and, in some cases, to enable the children to enjoy a consistent standard of living at each parent’s home. It is not intended to enrich a custodial parent or punish a non-custodial parent. Unfortunately, the system is often manipulated and abused by parents who wants to receive excess support and by parents who want to avoid their obligation. That’s where our top rated child support attorneys can help.


In Arizona, child support is calculated pursuant to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. This formula provides consistency and uniformity in child support calculations. It primarily considers the parents’ incomes (or earning capacities, when parents are voluntarily unemployed or underemployed), parenting time, and certain expenses incurred for the children. Examples of these expenses include health insurance premiums, childcare, and educational expenses like private school tuition. Understanding how the formula works is important because parents are often surprised by how insignificantly a parent’s income influences the calculation.


Child support is established by filing a petition with the family court and it may be incorporated into other actions, such as divorce or an action to establish parenting time/legal decision-making. In certain circumstances, a parent may establish child support retroactively, up to three years before the petition is filed, though retroactive support is discretionary. Because parents frequently try to conceal or misrepresent their incomes to manipulate child support, an experienced child support attorney can be a tremendous advantage.


Once established, child support typically is withheld directly from the owing parent’s paycheck and distributed to the other parent via the Clearinghouse. Child support can be modified whenever a parent can demonstrate substantial and continuing changes to circumstances that would justify recalculation of support. Ordinarily, a parent can modify whenever changes would result in a difference of fifteen percent more or less than the current child support order. It cannot be modified retroactively, so it is important to act quickly when circumstances change.


Non-payment of child support has severe consequences, though it is important to note that non-payment does not justify a parent to restrict or deny the non-paying parent’s parenting time. Non-payment can, however, result in financial sanctions, suspension of professional licenses and passports, and even incarceration. We can help you enforce your child support order and collect unpaid support.