Child Support Attorney Phoenix AZ

Managing a child financially can be quite complex, and without a solid understanding, you can suffer from legal consequences. When you are required to provide child support, you must commit to regular payments through the court. If you are seeking child support from an evasive or argumentative ex-partner, you can work with your Phoenix child support lawyer to make sure that the court enforces payments. With more knowledge, you can make educated decisions on how to deal with a child support claim.

Get guidance from an educated child support attorney before initiating your case. This can prevent you from making mistakes and wasting time when seeking a fair child support amount. Learn more about your child support case and what approach to use with our help. Find out how to get started on receiving Phoenix child support by consulting with Cosmas Onyia today.

A Stack Of 100 USD Bills Stacked Next To A Judges Hammer

How far behind can child support fall before a warrant is issued in Arizona?

When a parent who is ordered to pay for child support falls behind, the order can be enforced by the Court for the non-payment of child support. The specific amount of arrears that triggers an enforcement action can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. Under Arizona state law, a court may enforce child order if a parent who has failed to pay child support for at least 60 days or who owes at least $5,000 in child support arrears. This threshold may be lower in some cases if the court determines that the parent has the ability to pay but is willfully refusing to do so.

How can I legally stop paying child support in Arizona?

A parent cannot simply stop paying child support without a valid reason and without following the legal procedures. If you were to legally stop paying child support, you must petition the court for a modification of the child support order. You as the parent must also demonstrate that there has been a significant and continuing change in circumstances that makes the current child support order unfair or inappropriate. Examples of such changes in circumstances may include a significant change in income or job loss, or a change in the parenting time schedule. After you file a petition for a modification, the other parent will be notified of the request and will have an opportunity to respond. The court will then review the evidence presented by both parties and make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Until the court issues a new order modifying the child support obligation, the parent must continue to pay the current child support amount.  If you fail to follow the correct court procedures, this can result in legal consequences such as license suspension, or even imprisonment for contempt of court.

How much does a father pay for child support in Arizona?

The amount of child support a parent pays in Arizona is determined by the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which use a formula that takes into account various factors such as the income of both parents, the number of children, and the parenting time arrangement. It would be the same amount as a mother in most cases if she was not the primary residential parent of the children.

The formula considers the gross income of both parents, and certain allowable deductions, such as health insurance premiums, and other child support or spousal maintenance payments. The official guidelines also provide for additional expenses, such as childcare costs and medical expenses, to be divided between the parents according to their respective incomes.

Child Support Guidelines for Calculating the Appropriate Amounts

The child support guidelines provide a formula for calculating the appropriate amount of child support in Arizona. Your child support attorney in Phoenix, AZ can provide all of these services to make sure that your child support was accurately calculated. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1: Determine the gross income of both parents. This includes income from all sources, such as wages, tips, bonuses, commissions, and self-employment income.

Step 2: Subtract allowable deductions from gross income, such as child support paid for other children, spousal support and health insurance premiums.

Step 3: Use the child support chart to find the basic support obligation based on the combined adjusted income and the number of children. The chart provides a basic support obligation amount for various income levels and numbers of children.

Step 4: Divide the basic support obligation between the parents according to their proportionate share of the combined adjusted income. For example, if one parent’s income is 60% of the combined adjusted income, that parent would be responsible for 60% of the basic support obligation.

Step 5: Adjust the child support amount for additional expenses, such as childcare costs and medical expenses, by dividing these expenses between the parents according to their proportionate share of the combined adjusted income.

Step 6: Add up the basic support obligation and additional expenses to determine the total child support obligation.

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Child Support Trial

When you begin the child support trial process, your Phoenix child support lawyer can support and educate you on what to expect. They will guide you through the steps for your child support trial in Arizona. Please note that court procedures and requirements may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case, so it’s important to consult your family law attorney in Phoenix, AZ first.

Filing the Petition

The first step in initiating a child support case in Arizona is to file a petition with the court. The petitioner, or the person seeking child support, typically files the petition. This petition outlines the details of the case, such as the names and ages of the children involved and the requested amount of child support.

Service of Process

Once the petition is filed, the petitioner must serve the other parent with a copy of the petition and a summons, which notifies them that a case has been filed against them and outlines their legal rights and responsibilities. If you are not the petitioner, you’ll receive the summons detailing the child support petition.

Response and Counter-Petition

The other parent has a certain amount of time to respond to the petition and may file a counter-petition if they have any additional requests or concerns related to child support. Your Phoenix child support lawyer can direct you on how to file a counter-petition. If the other parent sent you a counter-petition, Phoenix child support lawyers can explain to you how you should respond in your best interests.

Pretrial Conference

Before the trial, the court may hold a pretrial conference to discuss any outstanding issues and attempt to resolve the case through negotiation.


If the case is not resolved through negotiation, a trial will be scheduled. Each party will present evidence and testimony to support their case at the trial.

Decision and Order

After considering all the evidence presented at trial, the court will issue a decision and order that outlines the amount of child support that must be paid and any other relevant details. This includes the payment schedule and how expenses related to the children will be divided between the parents.

Enforcement and Modification

Once a child support order is in place, it is legally binding and must be followed. If one parent fails to comply with the order, the other parent can seek enforcement through the court. The child support order can also be modified if there are significant changes in the circumstances of either parent. This can include a change in income or a change in custody arrangements.

Duration of Child Support

In Arizona, the duration of child support is generally until the child reaches the age of 18 and graduates from high school or turns 19 years of age, whichever comes first. However, child support can continue past these ages if the child has special needs or disabilities that require ongoing support. Another exception is if the child is still attending high school on a full-time basis.

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Child Support for Disabled Adult Children

In Arizona, child support for disabled adult children is handled differently than child support for minor children. Here are some important things to note:


To be eligible for child support as a disabled adult child, the child must be physically or mentally disabled to the extent that they cannot support themselves. The disability must have occurred prior to the child reaching the age of 18 or graduating from high school, whichever comes last.

Age Limit

Unlike child support for minor children, which generally ends when the child reaches the age of 18 or 19, child support for disabled adult children can continue indefinitely. This is as long as the child remains disabled and dependent on the parent for support.

Calculation of Monetary Amount

The calculation of child support for disabled adult children is based on the needs of the child and the ability of the parents to pay. The court will consider factors such as the child’s medical and living expenses, the income and assets of both parents and any public benefits the child may be receiving.

Court Approval

Any child support agreement or modification involving disabled adult children must be approved by the court.


Child support for disabled adult children can be terminated if the child is no longer disabled, if the child becomes self-supporting, or if the parent providing support becomes unable to continue providing support due to a change in their own financial or physical circumstances.

Child Support Enforcement and Contempt Proceedings

In Arizona, child support enforcement and contempt proceedings can be initiated by the state’s Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) or by the parent entitled to receive child support. Here are the general steps for enforcing child support and initiating contempt proceedings:

Locate the Non-Custodial Parent

The first step in enforcing child support is to locate the non-custodial parent if their whereabouts are unknown. The DCSS may use a variety of methods to locate the non-custodial parent, such as accessing government databases or conducting investigations.

Establish Paternity

If paternity has not been established, the DCSS or either parent may initiate legal proceedings to establish paternity so that child support can be ordered and enforced.

Order Child Support

Once paternity has been established, the court will issue an order for child support based on the income of both parents and the needs of the child.


Suppose the non-custodial parent fails to comply with the child support order. In that case, the DCSS or the custodial parent can take a number of enforcement actions, including wage garnishment, interception of tax refunds, suspension of licenses, and seizure of property.

Contempt Proceedings

If the non-custodial parent continues to fail to comply with the child support order despite enforcement efforts, the DCSS or the custodial parent may initiate contempt proceedings. This involves filing a petition with the court and providing evidence of the non-custodial parent’s noncompliance. In the case that the court finds the non-custodial parent in contempt, they may face penalties such as fines or even imprisonment.

Woman Talking To A Child On A Couch

How Can I Request a Child Support Modification in Arizona?

Step 1: Your attorney will determine if you are eligible for a modification

Step 2: Attorneys gather the necessary documentation

Step 3: Your child support lawyer advises you on your case strength and best strategy

Step 4: The attorney files a petition for modification

Step 5: Attend a court hearing and be represented by your attorney

Step 6: Await the court’s decision

Is There a Time Limit to Collect Child Support?

In Arizona, there is generally no time limit to collect child support. Child support arrears or past due, the delinquent amount can accumulate over time. When this occurs, the custodial parent can seek enforcement of the child support order at any time, even after the child has reached adulthood. However, there is a statute of limitations for enforcing child support orders in certain circumstances.  Learn more about your child support case and get a consultation with Cosmas Onyia now.