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.
Arizona parents who either receive or pay child support know that these funds are often crucial for covering the costs of raising a child. However, even when a noncustodial parent is well-meaning and consistent with their payments, a sudden disability can make it challenging to keep up with the payments.
Facing an upcoming child support hearing might seem like a stressful situation. However, keeping a few things in mind may actually help prevent unwanted outcomes. While Arizona courts may follow certain state child support guidelines, they also count on facts specific to each case.
When many people in Phoenix hear the term "alimony," they may think of an ex-wife receiving monthly support payments from her ex-husband. However, alimony or spousal support obligations have been gender-neutral since a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978. Instead of being dependent on the gender of the partner with the higher income, spousal support determinations are based on the economic and financial makeup of the marriage. This is especially true when one partner stays home to raise children or care for the house. While this has traditionally been a gender role ascribed to women, an increasing number of households across the country have a female breadwinner.
On average, a single custodial parent in Arizona or elsewhere in the country is owed less than $500 per month in child support. This was one of the findings from the "January 2016 Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support" report. It is released by the U.S. Census Bureau using the most recent information available to come up with its findings.
Child support can become a contentious issue in any divorce case in Arizona because it involves two things that are hugely important to everyone: their kids and their money. Child custody and support are oftentimes intertwined as problematic issues before the court, which is why it is important to understand the factors that will come into play when these problems need to be decided by a judge.