Arizona’s child support payments are determined based on both parents’ combined incomes, the number of children both parents share in common, and the percentage of time the children spend with each parent. Basic calculations may assume that one parent has primary custody of the children, and the other parent only has visitation rights. Arizona’s child support calculators and tables are only guidelines for how much the non-custodial parent will be required to pay in support. Generally, the courts will take these guidelines into account with specific factors relating to the needs of the child. Factors like how much time each parent spends caring for the children and other expenses the child might have could also impact how much the non-custodial parent might be required to pay in child support.

One situation where child support guidelines and calculators may not serve as an accurate reflection of child support payments is where one parent chooses “voluntary impoverishment.” What is voluntary impoverishment and why might it be significant to your case? Voluntary impoverishment is a situation where the courts determine that one parent has intentionally quit a job or intentionally become under-employed to avoid paying child support payments or to reduce his or her child support obligation. Sometimes parents might quit a job, take fewer shifts, work fewer hours, or take a job with a lower income to artificially decrease their earnings. If this is the case, or if you suspect this is something your former partner might be doing, Schneider & Onofry, P.C. is a divorce law firm in Yuma, Arizona that may be able to assist you. In cases where a parent is believed to be voluntarily not working or quitting jobs to avoid child support, the courts may estimate the parent’s earning capacity by determining a parent’s “imputed income.” This income is determined based on the individual’s former earnings, earning capacity, education, training, and other factors. A child support case involving voluntary impoverishment can sometimes be complex, because the parent seeking child support may need to prove to the court that the non-custodial parent has intentionally left work, avoided work, quit a job, or otherwise failed to work in order to avoid child support payments. The non-custodial parent also has the right to dispute these claims by showing how disability, layoffs, changes in the field in which he or she is working contributed to his or her lower income. Furthermore, the non-custodial parent may be able to show his or her attempts to find new work, or attempts to gain training to increase income, which could help his or her case. Are you facing a tough child support battle? Have questions about your rights? Schneider & Onofry, P.C. is a divorce law firm in Yuma, Arizona that may be able to assist you with your child support claim.

What Factors Might Be Considered When Courts Estimate Imputed Income?

Many factors must be considered when the courts estimate imputed income. For example, sometimes a parent might be under-employed, but he or she may work fewer hours so that he or she can be available to care for a child after school or provide additional support for caregiving. The courts may consider non-economic contributions that the parent might be making, in some cases. A parent may have lower income than expected, but this may because he or she is in school, in training, or because he or she has been laid off, or because changes in his or her field led to a reduction in income. In some of these situations, the courts may not impose imputed income on this parent.

However, if a parent is intentionally not working, is intentionally under-employed, or isn’t earning up to his or her capacity to avoid paying child support, the courts may estimate his or her earning capacity. This may be done by evaluating this individual’s earning history, his or her education, training, and other factors, like the average earnings people might make in his or her industry. Do you have questions about your rights if you are seeking child support from a parent who either won’t pay or who won’t work? In Arizona, both parents are expected to support their children. The courts generally will look at the whole picture when making a determination of what might be in the children’s best interests when determining child support payments. Do you have questions about your rights and options under the law? Schneider & Onofry, P.C. is a divorce law firm in Yuma, Arizona that may be able to help you with your child support order, with seeking child support, with a modification to child support, or with your child support questions. Reach out to our lawyers today or connect with today to learn more.

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