Calculating AZ child support is pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, for many couples, the calculations may not consider the intricate details of their child’s actual needs and expenses. The collaborative divorce process allows you and your spouse to work together to agree on a different amount than the state’s calculator provides.
What They Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Family
AZ child support is based on an objective measure of “the reasonable needs of the child.” While that sounds pretty straightforward, a judge doesn’t have the time to get to know your family and children like you and your spouse do.
For example, a judge wouldn’t know that being a part of the school band gives your daughter a sense of belonging. Now, more than ever, she needs that reinforcement and support system. If the judge didn’t include instrument payments in the child support agreement, they may be lost in the shuffle.
Another example is a blended family – the classic case of yours, mine and ours. A quick glance at your case and a judge may not assign any responsibility to you regarding your stepchildren. During a collaborative divorce, you and co-parent understand that even though they’re technically “step” children, you’ve treated them like your own since the day you met them. You’ve been a part of their lives for as long as they can remember. Their needs, now and in the future, are important to your family unit and to you as a parent.
A judge can’t know everything that’s important to your children or every detail of how you and your spouse distributed responsibilities over the years. If you leave your AZ child support payments up to a calculator, the outcome may not be what you expect.
Control Your Divorce
In an Arizona courtroom, your divorce is managed by two attorneys and a judge. In this situation, AZ child support is based on figures entered into the state’s calculator based on specific guidelines. There isn’t room for flexibility.
On the other hand, when you choose a collaborative divorce, you and your co-parent have the ability to decide your outcome. Working with each of your attorneys, as well as a financial neutral and communication specialist, you’ll brainstorm solutions for your future. Collaborative divorce keeps family at the forefront of your decision-making.
AZ Child Support is Flexible in Collaborative Divorce
If leaving child support payments up to a judge and a calculator is making you nervous, consider the difference collaborative divorce offers. Your collaborative divorce professionals will consider your family’s unique circumstances as they guide you through the process. There’s a lot more to it than a few figures entered into a calculator:
- Perhaps the custodial parent has more than enough income to support the kids and it’s best if child support is lower than the Arizona guidelines.
- Sometimes, the non-custodial parent wants to take care of a larger share of medical expenses and extracurricular activities than the court might otherwise assign.
- If private school is important to one parent, perhaps they’re willing to commit to covering all expenses through graduation.
- Maybe one parent is in a better position to pay more child support than the Arizona guidelines require.
- In some cases, spouses may agree that no support needs to be paid from either parent.
The details and possibilities are endless.
Child Support by Agreement
With the AZ collaborative divorce model, parents learn communication strategies that have long-term benefits. Rather than using hurtful words and playing the blame game, parents agree and focus on what’s important: kids and family.
Family law professionals who are trained in collaborative divorce can help develop your out-of-court divorce using a less adversarial and more family-focused strategy. Collaborative divorce is private, unique, and kid-focused. There aren’t any winners or losers since everyone’s goal is the good of your family.
It’s important to have a group that understands the intricacies of a family divorce since child support includes more than just a monthly payment between co-parents. It also can cover:
- Claiming dependents on taxes
- Division of uncovered medical expenses
- Extracurricular activity and sports expenses
- Health insurance
While the state calculator serves as a good starting point for calculating child support, collaborative divorce professionals understand there’s often more to the picture. During your conversations, you and your spouse will come to a child support agreement. It’s important to understand that this amount can be higher or lower than the guidelines calculation. Once these payments are agreed upon, they become part of an enforceable order.
Learn About AZ Child Support
Collaborative divorce is structured to protect your children. After all, divorce can be a lifestyle and living arrangement change, but it doesn’t have to destroy your family.
Knowledge is power, so before you file for divorce, learn as much as possible about family law and child support. If you’re considering divorce and want to understand the options for AZ child support during a collaborative divorce, contact the professionals at Best Legal Choices today.
Steve is the Founder and Senior Partner of a five lawyer law firm with offices in Glendale and Peoria, Arizona.