If you separate from your spouse and intend to go on to divorce, one of the first things you’ll have to work out is child support. Your kids deserve support from both parents, but how much financial support you or the other parent has to pay is still to be determined.
Arizona has statutory guidelines that determine how child support is determined, but you and your spouse can also come up with your own agreement. Here’s a little more about how child support is calculated if you go by the state guidelines instead of coming up with your own support decision.
Arizona’s courts offer an easy-to-use calculator
To start with the most basic way to at least estimate what you or the other parent will pay, you can use the 2018-2020 or 2021 child support calculator, depending on when you separate or divorce. Your attorney can also use guidance from this calculator to help negotiate on your behalf if you owe support or want more than what the calculator suggests.
The calculator works by taking your children’s information, your personal information and time-sharing data. Then, it has you enter financial details such as your income, your spouse’s income, insurance rates paid for medical or dental care, extra educational expenses and other factors that may affect how much support has to be covered.
For example, using the calculator shows that a family with two children and parents who earn $20 and $10 per hour respectively will owe $1,275 in support monthly when sharing custody equally. However, this support is split between the parents by proportion. Eventually, with this data, it’s shown that the parent earning more would pay $213 a month considering no other factors.
This kind of calculator isn’t perfect, but it may be a good way to start the conversation on child support with your attorney and spouse. Your attorney can also help you negotiate a support payment that is more appropriate for you based on your income, since it’s likely to vary from the example given above. You’ll also have many other factors to consider, such as insurance rates, schooling and special needs.