When a couple with children divorces in Arizona, a court order is the only way of establishing a child support amount. The court uses both parents’ incomes to calculate the amount of child support the noncustodial parent will pay to financially support the children. After the support amount has been determined by the court, a court order will be issued by the court and then an Order of Assignment will be filed at the same time and a copy will be sent to the paying parent’s employer, which directs the employer to withhold the child support amount from the employee’s paycheck.
In addition, divorcing parents need to have a parenting plan containing a child visitation schedule before the courts rule on a custody decision. If parents cannot agree upon a parenting plan and visitation schedule, the court will create one which will take the best interests of the children into account.
What happens when the noncustodial parent stops paying child support? Will this affect his or her visitation rights? No, it will not. The court considers support and visitation as two separate issues, and whether or not the noncustodial parent stays current on his or her child support should not have any impact on the time spent with the children. In the eyes of the court, denying a parent access to a child because he is behind on child support is not justified. Arizona law does penalize those who do not pay their child support, but the denial of visitation rights is not used. When support provisions are frequently being violated, the parent may have to go back to court to handle the problem.