Child Support and your Divorce

 

 

Jan 2016 DDFC blog photoOnce upon a time there are two children walking to school in a middle class neighborhood and in a middle class suburb.   Brother is in 3rd grade and Sister is in 6th grade.   Their clothes are second hand with some smudges of dirt and a few worn spots.   Sister is limping slightly because of a sore she has on her foot; probably because the shoes are a size too small.  Sister has beautiful bright blue eyes with a beautiful head of thick long blond hair.  There are no bows or ribbons, just a rubber-band tying her hair back.   Brother has a crew cut since it is the best mom can do at home without it looking too much like she cut his hair.

Brother has the slightest lisp and struggles with reading while sister struggles with math.  There are no tutors and there are no extracurricular activities for either child.   After school the children walk home, make themselves a snack and wait for mom to come home from work around six.   Mom calls and checks in and tries to help the children out with their homework in the evening but she is exhausted from a full time job and trying to keep up with the bills.   It’s difficult to make ends meet and there is no way for her to afford new shoes, or tutors or any “extras” of any kind.

This is a made up story, but it probably feels all too real of a story for many single parent families in Arizona.   There are over $20 million dollars of unpaid child support in the state of Arizona alone.   That’s $20 million dollars that has not been paid by a parent to support his/her child(ren).    That’s money that could be used for buying them clothes and shoes and paying for the basic needs of a child.

With all the news reports of Arizona going after dead-beat parents, you may be wondering how is child support calculated and what is taken into consideration?  Arizona has guidelines that take into account the amount of time you have custody of the child/children, both parent incomes, and other factors such as costs of healthcare, education, special needs, etc. The following link will take you to the 2015 child support calculator and guidelines for Arizona:

http://www.azcourts.gov/familylaw/2015-Child-Support-Calculator

Child support and spousal support are not the same and are not calculated the same way, although it is important for a divorcing couple to take both issues into consideration.   When discussing the issue of child support it may be difficult to take the current animosity you may feel toward your children’s mother or father out of the equation, but try to think of your children first.   If a parent is working below full earning capacity the court may consider the reasons.   If there are no attributable reasons, the court may take this into account.  Another item to note is that the division of the marital assets, unless they have been abnormally distributed or concealed, normally will not be considered.    The spousal support, if any, is taken off the gross income of the payee.

Be sure to consult your attorney for additional information.  Working with your CDFA™ will help you understand what your future cash flow will look like and give you guidelines to help determine the division of your assets and your income needs for you and your children.   A CDFA™ can help you negotiate an agreement that will make sure both you and your children are in a financially stable environment.

About the Author

Meredith Dekker

Meredith Dekker, with Dekker Divorce Financial Consulting, is a certified divorce financial analyst in Arizona helping you navigate the divorce process to find a clear path to your financial future.

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