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Feb 20, 2023

Do You Have to Pay Child Support if You Have 50/50 Custody in AZ?

When many people think of child support, they often first think of a non-custodial parent.

Do You Have to Pay Child Support if You Have 50/50 Custody in AZ?

When many people think of child support, they often first think of a non-custodial parent making payments to the parent with custody. However, when parents share 50/50 custody, it is often assumed that neither parent will be responsible for paying child support. This is not always true, even when the parents have agreed to share parenting and a parenting plan. 

Although support is often given to a parent, it still belongs to the child. As such, parents cannot agree to something that violates their child’s rights, including waiving support. Child custody is considered when decisions about support are made, but it is not the only factor. Learn more about how child support is calculated in Arizona below.

50/50 Custody Situations

In Arizona, parents may be required to pay child support even when they have shared parenting, alternating weeks, or another custody agreement. State law outlines an Income Shares Model, meaning that child support is a proportionate share that both parents are responsible for. The parent who is obligated to pay child support and the necessary support is based largely on the parent’s income and expenses.

The law in Arizona recognizes that child custody often referred to as parenting time, impacts the costs each parent incurs. As such, the child support calculation used by state courts includes a deduction or adjustment relating to the time each parent spends with the child.

If you and your child’s other parent have a 50/50 custody arrangement, and your incomes are similar, you each likely spend a relatively equal amount on the child. In these situations, the court may not order either parent to pay child support. On the other hand, if your incomes are not close to the same amount, the parent who earns a higher income will likely be required to pay child support to the lower-earning parent.

How Child Support is Determined in Arizona

No two child support cases are the same, but there are some basic steps the court will take when determining whether child support is applicable and how much should be paid. These are as follows:

  • Calculate the gross income of both parents, making deductions and adjustments to income as allowed by the state’s Child Support Guidelines. Child custody can be included in these adjustments, mainly when there is a 50/50 custody arrangement.
  • Combine the adjusted incomes of the parents and compare the amount with the Arizona Schedule of Basic Support Obligations. The schedule only defines the support the child needs, not the final amount of child support.
  • Additional child-related expenses, such as childcare expenses, medical insurance, and more, are added to the introductory amount of support.
  • The essential child support, with adjustments, is divided proportionately between each parent. This requires a calculation of the percentage of the combined adjusted income each parent contributes. That percentage is then applied to the introductory amount of child support, which is what one or both parents will pay. For example, if a father contributes 60 percent of the child’s expenses, he will have to pay the same percentage of the basic child support amount.
  • The basic amount of child support is then adjusted according to each party’s parenting time. The number of parenting days a parent has throughout one year is calculated and compared with the Arizona Parenting Time Table. The Table provides the appropriate adjustment that should be deducted from the child support the parent is expected to pay. When parents each have an equal amount of parenting days, the same percentage is deducted from both parties’ child support shares.
  • Once there are no more adjustments to apply, the court will issue an order for one or both parents to pay child support. If the court finds that each parent will incur approximately the exact costs and have similar incomes, the court may not issue a child support order.

Understanding child support as it relates to child custody can quickly become complex. It is always wise to speak to an Arizona family lawyer who can advise on your case.

Contact Our Child Support Lawyer in Arizona

If you have a child support issue, you need sound legal advice. At Singular Law Group, PLLC, our Arizona child support lawyer can advise on your case and help you obtain the best possible outcome. Call us now or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation and learn more.

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