The Arizona Supreme Court has adopted new child support guidelines effective January 1, 2022. The child support amounts resulting from the new child support calculator are slightly higher. Additionally, some of the major changes include:
- Although the definition of income is still basically the same including income from basically all sources, some additional language was added to indicate that parents may work less overtime if it helps them spend more time with their children.
- The new calculator adjusts for the tax law changes that made spousal maintenance non-deductible to the payor and non-taxable to the recipient.
- The maximum combined income has been increased to $30,000. (Under the old guidelines, child support was only calculated up to a combined income of $20,000.) You can deviate to a higher amount of child support if the combined income exceeds $30,000.
- Dental and vision insurance is not required, but if a parent is providing those, that parent can receive a credit in the calculator for those premiums.
- Time while the child is in school is now credited to the parent assigned to that parenting time segment. Under the old guidelines, only time spent with the child while not in school or daycare was credited.
The 2022 Child Support Guidelines will be effective for all child support orders, whether original orders or modification of previous orders, entered after January 1, 2022.
A common item we discuss in divorce mediation when couples have children is the amount of Child Support that should be paid. In our mediations, we typically work with the Arizona Child Support Calculator, but we also approach the numbers from a realistic goals 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 our 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 2022 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 us at 602-714-7447.
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