Experienced Scottsdale Attorney Litigates Child Support Disputes
Fighting to ensure fair orders based on accurate financials and pertinent factors
Arizona law holds both parents responsible for supporting their children. When the parents are married, the law assumes that both parents are providing support. But when parents divorce or unmarried parents break up, the family court has the power to issue an order for support for the good of the children. For more than 40 years, attorney Mark Cord has managed legal disputes for parents paying and receiving child support. Most often, the matter arises during a divorce, but conflicts also occur post-divorce or with a paternity action. With all child support matters, Mark Cord fights to ensure the outcome is fair, based on the couple’s true financial situation and other important factors the court must consider.
How Arizona courts calculate child support obligations
Arizona family courts rely on state guidelines to determine the proper amount of child support to award. The guidelines require the court to consider several factors:
- Number of children of the marriage
- Financial resources of each parent
- Debts of the parents
- Child custody and parenting time arrangements
- Medical, mental health, and educational needs of the child
- The child’s standard of living prior to divorce or separation (if applicable)
Arizona law states that child support terminates when the child turns 18 years old, unless he or she has not graduated from high school by age 18. In that case, payments continue until whichever event occurs first: through the month of high school graduation or the month the child turns 19.
In general, a high-earning parent, especially one who has less time with the children under the parenting plan, pays support to the other parent. However, for the amount of support to be fair, each parent must provide accurate financial information to the court. Mark Cord is adept at using the discovery process to determine whether parties are hiding income or assets, or deliberately earning less to tip the scales in their favor.
Deviations from the child support guidelines in Arizona
Arizona allows judges to deviate upward or downward from the amount provided by the guidelines. First, the court must consider numerous factors listed in the law at A.R.S. §25-320A. These include:
- The financial resources and needs of the child
- The financial resources and needs of both parents
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed in an intact home with both parents
- The child’s physical and emotional condition and educational needs
- The medical support plan for the child
A deviation from the guideline amount is permissible if both of the following statements are true:
- Application of the guidelines is inappropriate or unjust in the particular case.
- The court has considered the best interests of the child in determining the amount of a deviation.
A judge making a deviation must commit these points to writing.
As your advocate for a fair outcome, Mark Cord makes sure the court is aware of all pertinent facts in your favor before exercising discretion with regards to a deviation.
Representing your interests in motions to modify child support
If an interested party experiences a significant change in circumstances while a child support order is in place, that party can petition the court to modify the order upward or downward. Examples of qualifying circumstances include:
- A parent’s long-term unemployment
- A parent’s serious illness
- A child’s special needs
Mark Cord capably represents your interests, whether you are requesting or opposing the modification, by alerting the court to all facts it must weigh in its decision.
If a parent who has the ability to pay refuses, there are several enforcement options available a recipient parent can pursue.
Contact a knowledgeable Scottsdale child support lawyer for a free consultation
Attorney Mark Cord represents clients throughout Scottsdale in child support cases as well as child support modifications and enforcement orders. Call Mark at 480-994-0345 or contact his firm online to schedule a free initial consultation.