Child Support

questions & answers

Question: I am at 0 earning potential, have 3 kids (1,4,7), the 2 oldest are from the marriage, the baby is from current relationship. my ex is taking me back to get the 0 earning potential changed.Day care for all my kids would be all of my paycheck! would they still change it like I am working when I am not? Do I need to put my boyfriends income and info on the paperwork? are there any adjustments since I had another baby?

Answer:

Answer to Question #1 (re: earnings):

Pursuant to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, [see, Child Support Guidelines § 5(e)]

"If a parent is unemployed or working below full earning capacity, the court may consider the reasons. If earnings are reduced as a matter of choice and not for reasonable cause, the court may attribute income to a parent up to his or her earning capacity." (Emphasis added).

"Examples of cases in which it may be inappropriate to attribute income include, but are not limited
to, the following circumstances:

  1. A parent is physically or mentally disabled,
  2. A parent is engaged in reasonable career or occupational training to establish basic skills or reasonably calculated to enhance earning capacity,
  3. Unusual emotional or physical needs of a natural or adopted child require that parent’s presence in the home, or
  4. The parent is a current recipient of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

 

Please be advised that under  (ARS § 25-320), there is a presumption that non-custodial parents (or parents responsible to pay support) are capable of full time employment and capable of earning a salary of at least federal minimum wage.   Although this statute applies to non-custodial/or "support paying" parents, I have seen the court impute the "minimum wage earning presumption" to custodial parents (or parents receiving the child support) as well.  It is possible that the court will impute some sort of earning potential to you for the purpose of child support. 

  • Be prepared to address the reasons why you cannot work or cannot earn (remember according to the Child Support Guidelines  "....the court may consider the reasons..." ). 
  • Also, be prepared for the possibility that some sort of salary will be attributed to you for child support purposes. 

Answer to Question #2:  (Boyfriend's earnings)

You do not include your boyfriend's income on the paperwork regarding your child support obligations.  Child support pertains to only your income (or earning ability) and your ex's income (or earning ability).

Answer to Question #3:  (Adjustment for another baby).

Yes.  You are generally entitled to an adjustment for additional children (if they are your children and they are not subject to the child support matter at hand).   This adjustment is permissible if income is attributed to you.  The court will not give you an adjustment for another child if your income is designated as "zero."  (This would result in negative income). 

  • There is a child support calculator online that may help you to get an idea of possible child support awards.  The link is:http://www.supreme.state.az.us/childsup/.
  • If you want to get an idea or range of child support possibilities, you may want to impute a gross monthly income for yourself at minimum wage.  
  • Read the Child Support Instructions to figure out how to properly calculate your gross monthly income and any adjustments for which you are entitled.  
  • Example of figuring gross monthly income:
      • Federal minimum wage is $5.85 per hour.
      • 5.85 (minimum wage) x (multiplied by) 40 (full time hours per week) = $234.00 per week.
      • There are 4.3 weeks in a month (yes, the extra 0.3 is needed!)
      • 4.3 (weeks) x (multiplied by) 234.00 (earnings per week) = $1006.20
      • In this example $1006.20 would be your gross monthly income
  • Example of figuring adjustment for additional child (that is not subject to a child support order)
      • Take your gross monthly income.  (In the example above it would be $1006.20);
      • Look at the Child Support Guidelines Table of Earnings (beginning on Page 20)
      • Under the "Combined Gross Monthly Income" column, using only your income (i.e. $1006.20) find the appropriate income range;
      • Example:

COMBINED

ADJUSTED

GROSS

INCOME

 

ONE CHILD

 

TWO

CHILDREN

 

THREE

CHILDREN

 

FOUR

CHILDREN

 

FIV E

CHILDREN

 

SIX CHILDREN

950

220

312

362

404

444

483

1000

231

326

379

423

465

506

1050

241

341

396

442

486

528

1100

251

355

413

460

506

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I am at 0 earning potential, have 3 kids (1,4,7), the 2 oldest are from the marriage, the baby is from current relationship. my ex is taking me back to get the 0 earning potential changed.Day care for all my kids would be all of my paycheck! would they still change it like I am working when I am not? Do I need to put my boyfriends income and info on the paperwork? are there any adjustments since I had another baby?

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
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