SECTION EIGHT. Basic Child Support Obligation
Once the parents’ Combined Adjusted Gross Income is established, we can calculate the Basic Child Support Obligation. We look to the Basic Child Support Obligation schedule and locate the parents’ Combined Adjusted Gross Income for the number of children under the order. The basic child support is capped when the parents’ Combined Adjusted Gross Income reaches $20,000 per month. And when there are seven or more children, the basic support is capped with the sixth child. When a parent seeks support above what the $20,000 and six-child presumptions allow under the guidelines, the court will consider the deviation, but cautiously so. Furthermore, the parent seeking a different amount carries the burden of proof and must provide sufficient evidence in support of the requested increase.
SECTION NINE. Total Child Support Obligation
Once the Basic Child Support Obligation is established, the cost of medical insurance must be added to it, and possibly the cost of dental or vision coverage. The court will assign the duty to provide medical insurance coverage to one parent, but the cost is shared. If both parents have medical insurance available to them, typically through their employment, then the court will assign responsibility for maintaining a policy. Typically we recommend that parents review both policies to see which one will provide the best coverage for a reasonable price.
The court will also assign the percentage each parent will pay for the child’s medical and health care expenses that are not covered by the insurance policy. Typically, the parent seeking reimbursement has 180 days (from the date the health care services were provided) to notify the other parent and request payment. Reimbursement should be made within 45 days of that request. The types of costs that could be added to the support amount at the court’s discretion include the following:
- The cost of childcare, which is annualized to give a uniform monthly amount. (The federal childcare tax credit may be a consideration for some higher income earning parents.)
- The cost involved in meeting the child’s educational requirements, which may include private school or special education. These expenses must either be agreed upon by the parents, or court-ordered. An extraordinary child’s needs, whether gifted, handicapped, or both, may also result in an increase in the support amount above the Basic Child Support Obligation.
- The court may order an older child adjustment for any child age 12 and over. The maximum the court may allow is 10% of that particular child’s share of the total support amount.
SECTION TEN. Parental Proportionate Share of the Total Child Support Obligation
The Total Child Support Obligation is “divided between the parents in proportion to their Adjusted Gross Incomes.” It takes only five steps to calculate a parent’s share of the total amount of child support:
Step One. Establish the Combined Adjusted Gross Income.
Step Two. Establish the first parent’s Adjusted Gross Income.
Step Three. Establish the Total Child Support Obligation.
Step Four. Divide the parent’s Adjusted Gross Income by the Combined Gross Income. The result is that parent’s percentage share.
Step Five. Multiply the Total Child Support Obligation by the parent’s percentage share. The resulting dollar amount is that parent’s monthly child support obligation.
Want to learn more about child support guidelines in Arizona? Return to Child Support Guidelines: The Basics and click on a new topic.