Arizona Child Support Calculator
Support obligation will be set at the court's discretion if payor's income is less than $1,685.
Arizona Child Support: What Parents Need to Know
Child support ensures that both parents meet their obligation to financially care for their children.
Married parents receive a child support order in their divorce or separation case. Unmarried parents can get an order in a legal decision-making case or a standalone child support case.
Child support basics
Arizona uses a formula to determine which parent pays support and how much. Use the calculator above to find your estimated Arizona child support payment.
In a settlement, parents can agree to a different amount if the children's financial needs are still met (which a judge decides when reviewing the agreement).
When parents don't agree on an amount, a judge uses the formula to set child support and typically only deviates from the result if it wouldn't meet the children's needs or the paying parent can't afford it.
The child support order requires one parent to make monthly payments to the other until each child turns 18 and graduates from high school. However, support ends if a child turns 19 before graduating. If a child has extraordinary or special needs, a judge may extend the payments.
Typically, the parent with less parenting time pays because the other parent spends more on caring for the children. Gender isn't a factor.
Keep in mind that child support is a right of children — not of either parent. Parents aren't allowed to forfeit child support, nor can a parent give up their parental rights to avoid paying. Parents who don't have legal decision-making authority or parenting time must still pay, and support doesn't end if a parent marries.
Calculating child support
To determine the monthly payment amount and which parent pays, use the calculator above or the state's child support calculator. You can also use the worksheets provided by your court (e.g., this one from Maricopa County). Be sure to also consult the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.
Arizona's child support formula considers each parent's income and how much each pays toward children's health insurance, child care and education. It also considers the number of children in the case and their ages, as well as parenting time (counted according to Arizona's unique method, described below). When parents live over 100 miles apart, expenses for children's travel between homes can also be factored in.
Parenting time and child support
How parenting time is factored into the child support calculation depends on the parenting time schedule. To estimate how your parenting time arrangement affects your child support, use the "your number of days" slider button on the Arizona child support calculator at the top of the page.
When children live with parents equally
When parenting time is shared equally (roughly 164 days per parent per year), the higher-earning parent pays child support, but they get a 50 percent reduction.
In the rare case that parents who share time equally have the same income and parenting expenses, neither pays support.
When children live with one parent more than the other
The nonresidential parent's number of days per year determines what percent they can deduct from their child support obligation.
|Days of parenting time||Percent adjustment|
|164 or more||50%|
Keep in mind that Arizona judges do not look favorably on parents who want to increase their parenting time solely to reduce child support payments.
Calculating the nonresidential parent's time for child support
Arizona calculates the nonresidential parent's annual parenting time by looking at each block of their time with the children. Time the children are in school or with a third-party caregiver does not count.
Within a block, every 24 hours counts as one day. When a block lasts less than 24 hours, or when there's time left over after you divide a block into 24-hour periods, then:
- 12 to 23 hours counts as one day (equal to 24 hours).
- 6 to 11 hours counts as a half day (equal to 12 hours).
- 3 to 5 hours counts as a quarter day (equal to 6 hours).
- Less than 3 hours counts as a quarter day (equal to 6 hours) if the nonresidential parent regularly pays for routine expenses during the visit (e.g., meals).
For example, the noncustodial parent has the children Friday at 3 p.m. until Monday at 8 a.m. This block is 65 hours long, which counts as three days of parenting time (24 hours + 24 hours + 17 hours). On Wednesday, the parent has a two-hour dinner visit with the children, which counts as a quarter day.
You can add up parenting time manually, or you can use the Custody X Change app. To use the app, you need to adjust its automatic calculation to meet Arizona's parameters. Here's how:
- In your Custody X Change account settings, make sure your calculations are set to "hours" and "year."
- If you haven't already, enter your family's custody schedules into a calendar. Mark when the children are with a third-party caretaker or at school.
- Duplicate the calendar so you can make changes for calculation purposes without affecting the original.
- In the new calendar, delete the noncustodial parent's visits that are less than 3 hours long (except when the parent regularly pays for expenses like meals during the visit).
- Next, drag the end times of the noncustodial parent's remaining visits (except visits that last exactly 24 hours). Make each visit last the number of hours that Arizona credits it for parenting time calculations, according to the bullets above. For instance, an 18-hour visit would become a 24-hour visit.
- Lastly, find the parent's annual percentage of time at the top of the screen. Multiply the percentage (as a decimal) by 365 to see how many days they have with the children per year, according to how Arizona counts. (For example, 40 percent is 146 days.)
If the noncustodial parent's visits start to overlap using this method, you'll have to count manually.
A traditional count of your parenting time not using Arizona's method can also be useful. It can help convince a judge to deviate from the state's child support formula, and many parents want to know exactly how many hours they get with their children. Custody X Change calculates your hourly parenting time instantly when you input your custody schedule.
Division of Child Support Services
The Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) assists the court in establishing and enforcing child support orders.
DCSS automatically opens a case when a parent who receives public assistance files for divorce or when an unmarried parent without a child support order files for public assistance.
In addition, unmarried parents can opt to use DCSS to get a child support order, even if they don't receive or apply for public assistance. DCSS doesn't handle paternity testing, legal decision-making or parenting time, so unmarried parents who need orders for these issues should go through the family court process.
Enforcing child support
When a parent fails to pay ordered support, the receiving parent can request enforcement from DCSS or the court. Both entities can garnish wages, intercept tax refunds and stimulus payments, place liens on property, suspend licenses and confiscate passports. Only the court, however, can levy fines and order jail time for unpaid child support.
Most parents begin enforcement with DCSS, which refers the case to the court if necessary. Parents can choose to skip DCSS, however, and go directly to court.
Modifying child support
Parents can ask DCSS or the court to modify a child support order when there's a substantial and permanent change to the family's situation (e.g., changes in a parent's income).
Modifications are automatically approved if neither parent objects and recalculating the payment (using the state formula) changes it by at least 15 percent.
When there's not a 15 percent change or when a parent disputes a modification request, a judge decides.
Payments can change as children turn 12 or become ineligible for support, but not automatically. Parents must request a modified order when it's time.
Keeping track of payments and expenses
Remember that a child support order is legally binding and must be taken seriously.
Whether you're paying or receiving support, the Custody X Change app can help you keep track of payments. Log details of every one into your expense tracker to ensure you're sticking to the court order.
You can also track other child-related expenses and print an invoice if the other parent needs to reimburse you.
Custody X Change keeps you on top of all aspects of child custody, including payments and expenses.