Phoenix Child Support Lawyer
Child custody, with or without divorce, can be stressful. One very contentious issue that arises is child support. Child support is actually a right of the minor child or children. The purpose is to help with the costs associated with raising the child. If you have questions about setting the proper amount or a modification, contact a Phoenix child support lawyer to get the help that you need.
What Is Considered When Setting the Amount for Child Support?
While the parents of the minor child could agree on an amount for child support (or even discuss the possibility of no child support), it is up to the court to approve the arrangement. However, in many cases, the parents cannot agree. When child custody is addressed by the family court, the parties, represented by a Phoenix child support lawyer, will be bound by the amount set by the judge unless one of the parties files a modification at a later date.
Generally, the judge will consider:
- The income of both parents
- The number of minor children shared by the parents
- The amount of parenting time for each parent
- The money paid for healthcare insurance
- Medical needs and other needs of the child (for example, speech and occupational therapy)
- The amount of money paid out in child care costs
- The amount of money paid for educational expenses
- The cost of dental care
- Any special needs the minor child may have
- Any pre-existing child support orders in place for older children
- Payments associated with joint debts
- Transportation expenses for the child
- If there are more than six children
Be Honest During Child Support Hearings
Some parents are tempted to hide assets (especially income) that they receive in the hopes that they will be ordered to pay less child support than appropriate. This is a very dangerous game to play with the court. If and when the court finds out the truth, you can face fines or jail time for fraudulent misrepresentation.
Additionally, the primary custodian must also be honest about what they spend to care for their child. The court will examine the amounts presented and determine whether it is excessive. If the court believes the primary custodian is purposefully spending more than is reasonable, the court may not raise the child support amount. The court may also change the custody order.
Is Marital Misconduct Considered in Child Support Hearings?
If the parties are going through a divorce and one alleges marital misconduct, will the court consider that as a factor for child support? The answer is no. Child support is not used to punish a spouse because of how they allegedly misbehaved during a marriage. It is only to help meet the financial needs of the minor children now and in the future.
Parents Can Agree to the Child Support Amount
You and the other parent can agree on a child support amount that the two of you consider reasonable. You and the other parent can also agree on paying child support past the date the child becomes a legal adult. Parties can also agree to paying for private school, college, travel, summer camp, and enrichment activities. Keep in mind, though, that the court will ultimately approve the amount. Talk with a Phoenix child support lawyer to learn more.
Virtual Visitation and Child Support
A recent trend in family law to help non-custodial parents maintain a relationship with their children is virtual visitation. Also known as e-visitation, this type of visitation involves tools like Skype to allow the child to see and talk to their non-custodial parent. While this is a great way to stay in contact, it does not affect the amount of child support you could be ordered to pay. Virtual visitation is not a total substitute for actual visitation.
Modifying Child Support
If the income of either parent changes or if there is another substantial change for either parent, a child support modification may be filed. Child support cannot be changed without an order from the court. Talk with a Phoenix child support lawyer to learn more about modification.
To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us now at (602) 812-4600.