Judges in Arizona and around the country will generally rely on DNA evidence to determine paternity, as the results of these tests are incredibly accurate. DNA tests are usually ordered to identify the biological father of a child in child support cases, but they may also provide crucial evidence when fathers are seeking custody or visitation rights. When alleged fathers in Arizona refuse to cooperate by providing a tissue sample for DNA testing, the Office of the Attorney General may get involved to compel them to do so.
Parents in Arizona who fall behind on child support payments may not be doing so on purpose. However, they may still be labeled a deadbeat by the state or by others who don't fully understand why they aren't keeping up with their financial obligations. It is important to note that individuals of either gender could fail to make child support payments or otherwise make an effort to raise their children.
Child support payments in Arizona can be significantly lower than those right across the border in New Mexico, according to one study. Custody X Change, a smartphone app marketed to single and divorced parents to manage child custody and visitation schedules, used hypothetical data for a family in all 50 states to measure the differences in child support payments. Under federal law, each state is free to set its own child support guidelines, and the differences can be striking. In order to obtain clear results, they used the same family structure and income from both parents in all 50 states.
Parents in Arizona who are paying child support may have those payments terminated in the future. However, a paying parent is generally required to meet their support obligations until an order is modified or rescinded. For example, a child may become emancipated prior to his or her 18th birthday. Courts will consider the child's age and maturity level when deciding whether or not to grant such a request.
"Deadbeat parents" is a common term thrown around in the media for anyone unable to afford their child support payments. But the reality is that most parents that are unable to meet their child support payments are not doing so out of neglect or ill will. In many cases, low-income parents in Arizona and across the country are simply unable to afford the child support payments required by the court.
Paternity and maternity testing has become a fairly standard process with child custody matters in Arizona when parentage comes into question. In some family law situations, it's required to settle disputes or determine who is responsible for making child support payments. Also, when parents are unmarried when a child is conceived, the father isn't automatically considered the father legally. He is usually referred to as the "alleged father" unless both parents sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form.
As a general rule, Arizona parents are required to provide financial assistance to their children. If parents get divorced, one will usually pay child support to the other even if no one has asked for it. There are also scenarios in which a parent may ask that support payments be stopped after an order is entered. This could occur if the custodial parent gets a raise at work or receives a large inheritance.
Parents in Arizona who are getting a divorce might wonder how custody will be decided and about the relationship between custody and child support. There are two kinds of custody: legal and physical custody. The first deals with a parent's right to make important decisions about a child's upbringing, such as what religion the child will practice, or about healthcare. The other deals with how much time the child physically spends in each parent's home.
An Arizona parent who owes back pay on child support but needs a loan to purchase a home may feel backed into a tough situation. It's important to understand that owing child support is considered a derogatory credit event. This can impair one's chances of obtaining an approval for a mortgage.
Determining child support is a complex process that some divorcees struggle with. The Child Support Enforcement Agency, or CSEA, has established federal guidelines regarding how much parents must pay, but every case is slightly different. Those who live in Arizona also need to take state laws and regulations into consideration. Here is a closer look at how child support is determined and what steps parents must take when going through this process.