A Child Support Lawyer Can Explain How a Court Orders Child Support

A court may order a parent to pay child support to the other parent after a divorce, legal separation or breakup. This money is meant to help defray the cost of raising the children involved in a breakup or divorce. The court will consider the combined monthly incomes of both parents, the amount of time each parent has overnight with the child or children and other factors when deciding how much to award.

A judge may decide to follow the state’s child support guidelines or use some discretion and may change the order based on the facts of each case. The judge may also consider the ability of each parent to earn more or less than their current earnings. The judge will need to provide a written explanation of the reason for any deviation from the guidelines.

The judge will usually take into consideration the amount of overtime and other additional income each parent makes. The court will also take into consideration the cost of childcare, health insurance and other expenses the parties have. The judge will also factor in the child’s special needs such as medical, dental, psychological and educational costs.

If a court orders a parent to pay child support, the party who files the petition is called the “petitioner” and the party from whom the support is being sought is called the “respondent.” A hearing will be held before a support magistrate. During the hearing, both parents are allowed to testify and present evidence. The parties may also cross-examine each other and the witnesses. The Support Magistrate will then calculate the amount of child support to be paid and set up a schedule for regular payments.

The court will typically require the petitioner to submit proof of the respondent’s financial information. The respondent will be able to voluntarily provide this information or the court can request it.

Parents can agree to their own arrangements regarding child support, but they must get the court to approve it. A family law specialist can explain how these agreements will be viewed by the court. If a parent has an unexpected increase or decrease in their income, they can request that the court change the order. This is not automatic, however, and it will need to be a significant change in order for the court to approve it.

A parent who has not met their obligations under a court’s child support order can be subject to contempt proceedings that may lead to fines and even jail time. Our firm can assist in enforcing a child support order, as well as helping defend against a contempt action.

Contact us today to discuss your situation with our best child Support lawyer in Phoenix AZ. We understand that every client’s situation is unique and we are committed to providing the personal attention you deserve. We will always work hard to get you the results you want. Riisa Petersen Mandel is an experienced Arizona family law attorney and a former prosecutor. She handles all cases from beginning to end and never passes a case off to an associate.