Child Support in the Arizona Family Court: How Do Social Security Benefits Affect Calculations?

December 16, 2010 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Child Support, Family Court

By Trent Wilcox -

Social Security benefits can affect child support in two ways. First, if either the parent paying child support (the “obligor”) or the parent receiving child support (the “obligee”) receives Social Security benefits, the Arizona Child Support Guidelines require that the Social Security benefits be included in determining either parents income. Thus, the Social Security benefits help to determine the initial child support obligation.

Second, the Social Security benefits can affect the amount of child support that must be paid out of pocket by the parent paying child support. Section 26 of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines addresses this issue and states verbatim as follows:

A. Income earned or money received by a child from any source other than court-ordered child support shall not be counted toward either parent’s child support obligation except as stated herein. However, income earned or money received by or on behalf of a person for whom child support is ordered to continue past the age of majority pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute Sections 25-320.B and 25-809.F may be credited against any child support obligation.

B. Benefits, such as Social Security Disability or Insurance, received by a custodial parent on behalf of a child, as a result of contributions made by the parent paying child support shall be credited as follows:

1. If the amount of the child’s benefit for a given month is equal to or greater than the paying parent’s child support obligation, then that parent’s obligation is satisfied.

2. Any benefit received by the child for a given month in excess of the child support obligation shall not be treated as an arrearage payment nor as a credit toward future child support payments.

3. If the amount of the child’s benefit for a given month is less than the parent’s child support obligation, the parent shall pay the difference unless the court, in its discretion, modifies the child support order to equal the benefits being received at that time.

C. Except as otherwise provided in section 5.B, any benefits received directly, and not on behalf of a child, by either the custodial parent or the parent paying child support as a result of his or her own contributions, shall be included as part of that parent’s gross income.

The interpretation of Section 26, above, minus some of the legalese, is really pretty simple:

A. If a child receives benefits from a source outside of the parent paying child support, it will not normally diminish the paying parent’s child support obligation unless the Arizona Child Support Guidelines provide a specific exception. However, if a mentally or physically disabled child receives child support past the age of majority, those amounts may be credited toward the paying parent’s child support obligation. Notice this is a “may” and not a “shall,” meaning that the court has discretion in this child support matter.

B. If a child receives benefits, such as social security or insurance, because the paying parent made the child eligible to receive such benefits by paying into the system, those amounts will be credited toward the paying parent’s child support obligation in the manners described. Notice this is a “shall” and not a “may,” meaning that the court has no discretion in this child support matter.

C. As mentioned above, a parent who receives payments directly on his or her behalf must include those amounts in income totals used to calculate child support. However, the exception to this provision is provided by the Child Support Guidelines Section 5(B) which states, “Gross income does not include sums received as child support or benefits received from means-tested public assistance programs including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps and General Assistance.”

Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C.

Trent Wilcox

For the Firm

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Disclaimer: Providing the above information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. To create such a relationship, both the attorney and potential client must sign a written fee agreement. The information contained herein is meant only as general information and is not meant to be relied upon for the purpose of taking legal action. You should contact an attorney in person for further and specific information. Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. attorneys are licensed in Arizona only except for personal injury attorney Robert N. Edwards, who is licensed in Arizona and Minnesota. Information in this article may not apply to states other than Arizona.

Attorney Trent R. Wilcox is the managing partner of Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. Mr. Wilcox practices in the areas of family law, employment disputes and general civil litigation. Mr. Wilcox is admitted to practice in the Arizona state courts and federal district court and is a member of the Maricopa County, Arizona State and American Bar Associations.

Mr. Wilcox has worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to return abducted children to the custodial parent. He has assisted parents from various countries in cases brought under The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Mr. Wilcox plays golf professionally when time remains after family and the demands of the law office have been met and when he gets a chance to practice, carries a +3 to +4 handicap.

Article Source:–How-Do-Social-Security-Benefits-Affect-Calculations?&id=18088

Child Support Laws and the History

September 23, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Child Support

By Holcy Thompson III

Child Support

Child support can be traced back to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In the young ages of the nineteenth century, the United States courts that handled cases of marital breakdowns and divorce, discovered that the present laws did not provide for a support action. The United States had inherited many of the English laws in that time, and those laws discovered  that a father had a non-enforceable duty to support his children. In fact, English precedents forbade and third party from recovering  that cost of support unless the cost was pre-approved by  a notarized letter with the father.

In 1601, The Elizabeth Poor Law authorized local parishes to claim some of the funds they spent while caring for the custodial parent and their children who were not taking care of by the non-custodial parent. But this statue would only be prevailed on the mother and her children if they were extremely poor.

Child Support becomes the law

Child support continued to develop into the early 1900’s. In 1950, the United States Congress pass the first federal child support enforcement legislation having state welfare agencies to inform the appropriate enforcement officials when it became necessary to provide aid to parents with children who had no support by the other parent.

In 1975, Child Support saw big changes, not just for the collection of support, but also for child support enforcement. The Social Security Act, was signed into law on the 4th of January 1975.

In 1984, the next big year for child support laws, when the Child Support Enforcement Amendments were established, requiring improvements in state and local enforcement programs. First, every state in America were required to develop income withholding from all non-custodial parents paying child support. States were also allowed to report any delinquent parents to consumer credit agencies if they were past due  on their payments. []Click for reviews on child support, child support laws, and the history of child support

Or Visit the Child Support Laws Home Page

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Arizona Child Support Laws

September 23, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Child Support, Going to Court

By Holcy Thompson III

Child support plays a major role when it comes to providing support for a custodial parent’s child/children. In today’s world, a working single parent must provide for there children the best way possible. The Division of Arizona Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) helps both the custodial and non-custodial parent establish, collect, and enforce child support payments.

Applying for Child Support Laws

Child support services are offered to both the custodial and non-custodial parents. These services provide the custodial parents with establishing paternity and child support, locating the non-custodial parents, and enforcing Arizona child support laws. These services are automatically provided for families who are receiving public assistance under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Parents who are not under the program can still receive free services from the (DCSE) by filling out an application to have child support enforcement services provided for you.

When filling out the application, be prepared to provide information such as the non-custodial parent’s full name, address, and the SSN, the address of their recent employer, information on the non-custodial parents income or any assets they may attain.

Establishing Child Support laws

When establishing child support, the DCSE office will work with both custodial and non-custodial parents. When child support is established, the court will then determine the amount of money the non-custodial parent will pay each month. The court will also decide which parent will provide medical support for the child/children.

Enforcing Arizona Child Support Laws

When a non-custodial parent avoids paying their child support obligations, the Arizona DCSE will enforce several methods to motivate the parents to pay. These methods include income withholdings, new hire reporting, liens against any property they may own, suspension of driver’s license, passport denial, and the interception of any lottery winnings. There are also many other methods to enforcing Arizona child support laws.

Modifying Child Support Laws

When Circumstances arrive such as if one of the parents are laid off from their job, they are able to request a child support review. The request should be done in writing and have a valid reason as to why the reviews should be looked at by the courts. It can take up to six months before both parents will know the outcome of the child support modifications. Click for Arizona Child Support

Or Click here for child support collections

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