The Supreme Court of the state of Arizona adopts the AZ Child Support Guidelines, which should be utilized by each lower court in Arizona. The Income Shares Model used for computing child support is the basis for the Guidelines. This model was created by the Nat’l Centre for State Courts through its Child Support Guidelines Project. Its purpose is to give an equal amount of money as the support for a certain child, which both parents would be spending if they are living together, or an amount very close to that. The state uses these guidelines for providing a child support calculation, considering the needs of a child, the financial capabilities of parents, promotion of settlements and consistent calculation methods.
The calculation process of support starts with the calculation of both parents’ gross income. This consists of all types of regular income such as wages, business revenues and investments. One-time income such as prizes and gifts is also included. Occupation income includes expense reimbursements and company benefits. Overtime pay and other intermittent incomes are not included in the calculation by the court in that parents are not required to work long hours. The policy of Arizona allows parents to decide whether or not they will work overtime to get additional money without having to make more support payments.
If one parent does not have a job, the amount of minimum wage will be imputed to him/her except if he/she has a valid reason to refrain from working, like having mental or physical disability or the child needs extra care for having special needs. When the parents’ gross incomes are combined, the sum will be subtracted by allowed expenses. This modified gross income will then be used for calculating basic child support, adding other items like health insurance. The court sees to it that the support is affordable to the non-custodial parent.