New 2018 Child Support Guidelines in Divorce Mediation

The Arizona Supreme Court has adopted new child support guidelines effective April 1, 2018. The child support amounts remain essentially the same.  The major changes include:

  1. The designation of parents is changed from Father/Mother to Parent A/Parent B
  2. The self-support reserve amount has been increased from $1,115 to $1,456, which may affect lower income earners but should have no effect or higher wage earners
  3. The final support obligation field will automatically round up or down so that “cents” are eliminated
  4. The Child Support calculator has been updated

The 2018 Child Support Guidelines will be effective for all child support orders, whether original orders or modification of previous orders, entered after March 31, 2018, except in cases of default or as otherwise agreed upon by the parties.

A common topic in divorce mediation is the amount of Child Support that should be paid.  In my mediations, we typically work with the Arizona Child Support Calculator, but also approach the numbers from a realistic goal and financial perspective.  Sometimes, the number the calculator results in an amount that is not workable for a family.  Other times, it doesn’t take into consideration unique situations, such as one parent paying for a significant percentage of the children’s expenses.  Or maybe the number is just too low to cover the actual living expenses of the children.

In looking at the big picture and common goals for the children, many of my divorce mediation clients mutually agree on a child support number that works for their family.  So, we use the Arizona Child Support Calculator as a tool, but often deviate from the bottom line.  So, frankly, the new 2018 changes likely won’t affect most divorce mediation couples.

For questions about how child support might work with your particular situation, feel free to contact me at 602-714-7447.

For additional information, review: 2018 Guidelines and 2018 Child Support Calculator