Generally, the court will not put a ton of weight into what a child wants until at least the age of 12 or 13, although there is no set standard. It depends on the maturity level of the child. The child never speaks directly to the court or the judge. Either party can request that the child be interviewed, in this case, the child is interviewed by the court’s staff. They never are in a courtroom, and they don’t meet the judge. The child’s interview is transcribed, then provided to the judge for review. It doesn’t necessarily mean the child can decide where they’re going to live, but the judge will give the child’s interview the weight the judge sees appropriate, depending on the situation and the child’s age.
Who Is Responsible for Child Support When Parents Are Divorcing, Not Married, or Not Together in Arizona? How Is That Amount Calculated?
In Arizona, either party can be responsible for child support. It largely depends on the party’s salary, combined with how many days each parent has the child. Even in an equal time situation, one party may pay child support. If you have equal time, but one party makes significantly more than the other, that party is likely going to be paying child support to the other party.
It’s calculated by a child support calculator that’s available online. Generally, the factors they consider are:
- Salary of the parties
- Time spent with each parent
- Health insurance costs
- Daycare costs
There is also a section for extraordinary expenses, such as if the child has a medical issue that causes extraordinary health expenses.
These factors are entered into the calculator with a weekly, monthly, or annual salary. Then it provides a number, telling you who must pay who. The court goes by the calculator, it’s a black-and-white process in Arizona.
If Both Parents Share Equal Custody, Does Anyone Pay Child Support?
Even if both parents share equal custody, it is still likely one will pay support to the other. For example, both parties are making the same salary, but one party is covering health insurance or daycare for the child, those are not small payments. That will probably skew it so that the other parent will pay child support. Unless each parent is making exactly the same, and one is not paying for anything more than the other, one party will end up paying support to the other.
What If We Cannot Agree on a Custody Arrangement or Child Support Matter?
If you cannot agree on custody or child support, you will end up with a trial. The judge will decide for you.
Will My Child Ever Need to Appear in Court?
In Arizona, it is actually not allowed to have your child appear in court. You legally cannot even try to bring them to court.
Can One Parent Ever Petition to Relocate With the Child Under Arizona Family Law? If So, What Are the Requirements to Do So?
Parents can petition to relocate, although relocation cases are extremely difficult to win. The process requires at least 45 days before the parent wants to move away with the child (out-of-state or more than 100 miles away), they must provide written notice to the other parent. The notice must be delivered through certified mail with the return receipt requested. After the notice is delivered, the other parent has 30 days to file a petition to prevent the relocation of the child.
Once that parent files the petition to prevent relocation, the court will set a trial date. At trial, you must prove that moving the child is in the best interest of the child. Such as demonstrating schooling is better, money is better, support would be better, etc. It’s difficult to do if both parents have been involved in the child’s life.
Often, it’s one parent wanting to move to take the child away from the other. The court is going to shut that down. They’re not going to let that happen unless there are some extreme circumstances.
The only relocation case I’ve ever won in ten years involved a situation where a single mother of four was still living in the family home after the father left. The father had been ordered to pay the mortgage payment. The mother had not been working, didn’t have family here, and was trying to get a job. We had asked to relocate, but the court initially said no.
However, the father had not been paying the mortgage payment, as ordered, and the house was going to be foreclosed on in less than a month. We filed an emergency relocation in front of the judge. We had to explain the house would be gone soon, the mother doesn’t have a place to live, the father hasn’t been paying the mortgage, and the only family she has is in Georgia. At that point, the court allowed her to relocate with the children because the father had failed to follow court orders.
Apart from parties that have agreed on relocation, that was the only case I’ve won where the relocation request was granted. They are extremely difficult to win without a very compelling reason.
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