Arizona, like most states, has guidelines to calculate child support and to direct the Courts how to address the different variables that go into the child support calculation. There are four main factors used in calculating child support. (1) Gross income; (2) Health insurance costs (if any) for the children ONLY and which party is paying for it; (3) Child care costs (if any) and which party is paying for it; (4) Parenting days. For the purposes of this discussion Iwill only be addressing the fourth main factor- parenting days. The Arizona Child Support Guidelines explicitly delineate how to calculate parenting time days as follows:
“For purposes of calculating parenting time days, only the time spent by a child with the noncustodial parent is considered. Time that the child is in school or childcare is not.
To adjust for the costs of parenting time, first determine the total annual amount of parenting time indicated in a court order or parenting plan or by the expectation or historical practice of the parents. Using the following definitions, add together each block of parenting time to arrive at the total number of parenting time days per year. Calculate the number of parenting time days arising from any block of time the child spends with the noncustodial parent in the following manner:
A. Each block of time begins and ends when the noncustodial parent receives or returns the child from the custodial parent or from a third party with whom the custodial parent left the child. Third party includes, for example, a school or childcare provider.
B. Count one day of parenting time for each 24 hours within any block of time.
C. To the extent there is a period of less than 24 hours remaining in the block of time, after all 24-hour days are counted or for any block of time which is in total less than 24 hours in duration:
1. A period of 12 hours or more counts as one day.
2. A period of 6 to 11 hours counts as a half-day.
3. A period of 3 to 5 hours counts as a quarter-day.
4. Periods of less than 3 hours may count as a quarter-day if, during those hours, the noncustodial parent pays for routine expenses of the child, such as meals.”
It is important to realize that a change of one day does not necessarily translate to a different child support calculation. The child support under Arizona guidelines is calculated based on a range of days of parenting time. The table below shows the percentage adjustments for each range. For example, if you fall into the range of 88-115 days, your child support would not change whether you had 88 or 115 days. You would need to move to either the next range up (or down) for there to be any difference in the child support calculation.
Parenting time is only one of several factors that needs to be calculated correctly in order to determine an accurate child support amount. It is important to work with an attorney familiar with Family Law and the Arizona Child Support Guidelines to insure child support is calculated correctly.
James L. Cork II is an Associate Attorney at Fromm Smith and Gadow PC. Mr. Cork has been practicing Family Law since 2008. Mr. Cork has represented hundreds of clients in the following practice areas: Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation, Child Custody, Child Support, Spousal Maintenance, Paternity, Grandparent Rights, and Relocation. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Cork please call 602-955-1515.
This answer is for informational purposes only. It is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship shall exist unless and until an agreement for legal services is reached between attorney and client, and a legal services contract is fully executed by and between attorney and client.