Child Support in Arizona

| Child Support Family Law | September 28, 2020

What is Child Support?

In simple terms, child support is financial assistance paid or received by one or both of the parents for the custodial expenses and care for the child(ren). For a more detailed answer we will refer to: A.R.S. § 25-320(A): "In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child, born to or adopted by the parents, to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for support of the child, without regard to marital misconduct."

How is Child Support Calculated?

There are forms and calculations that help determine the amount considered. Some people think that the child support calculation is based solely on the child(ren)'s need of care or expenses. In reality there are many factors that are considered. As we continue to examine A.R.S. § 25-320, subsection D states:

 

D. The supreme court shall establish guidelines for determining the amount of child support.  The amount resulting from the application of these guidelines is the amount of child support ordered unless a written finding is made, based on criteria approved by the supreme court, that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust in a particular case.  The supreme court shall review the guidelines at least once every four years to ensure that their application results in the determination of appropriate child support amounts. The supreme court shall base the guidelines and criteria for deviation from them on all relevant factors, considered together and weighed in conjunction with each other, including:

1. The financial resources and needs of the child.

2. The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent.

3. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the child lived in an intact home with both parents to the extent it is economically feasible considering the resources of each parent and each parent's need to maintain a home and to provide support for the child when the child is with that parent.

4. The physical and emotional condition of the child, and the child's educational needs.

5. The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.

6. The medical support plan for the child.  The plan should include the child's medical support needs, the availability of medical insurance or services provided by the Arizona health care cost containment system and whether a cash medical support order is necessary.

7. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.

8. The duration of parenting time and related expenses.

Are Child Support Orders only Valid for Minor Children?

Although it is typical that child support orders are valid until a child is 18, there are other factors that may prolong the order beyond the child's 18th birthday.  This may include a child that is still in high school past the age of 18 as well as children with disabilities. Subsections E and F delve specifically into this matter:

E. Even if a child is over the age of majority when a petition is filed or at the time of the final decree, the court may order support to continue past the age of majority if all of the following are true:

1. The court has considered the factors prescribed in subsection D of this section.

2. The child has severe mental or physical disabilities as demonstrated by the fact that the child is unable to live independently and be self-supporting.

3. The child's disability began before the child reached the age of majority.

F. If a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school or a certified high school equivalency program, support shall continue to be provided during the period in which the child is actually attending high school or the equivalency program but only until the child reaches nineteen years of age unless the court enters an order pursuant to subsection E of this section.  Notwithstanding any other law, a parent paying support for a child over the age of majority pursuant to this section is entitled to obtain all records related to the attendance of the child in the high school or equivalency program.

Can Child Support be Retroactive?

Yes, and once again the statute shares specific information regarding this matter. A.R.S. § 25-320 (B)(C):

B. If child support has not been ordered by a child support order and if the court deems child support appropriate, the court shall direct, using a retroactive application of the child support guidelines to the date of filing a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support proceeding, the amount that the parents shall pay for the past support of the child and the manner in which payment shall be paid, taking into account any amount of temporary or voluntary support that has been paid. Retroactive child support is enforceable in any manner provided by law.

C. If the parties lived apart before the date of the filing for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support and if child support has not been ordered by a child support order, the court may order child support retroactively to the date of separation, but not more than three years before the date of the filing for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support. The court must first consider all relevant circumstances, including the conduct or motivation of the parties in that filing and the diligence with which service of process was attempted on the obligor spouse or was frustrated by the obligor spouse. If the court determines that child support is appropriate, the court shall direct, using a retroactive application of the child support guidelines, the amount that the parents must pay for the past support of the child and the manner in which payments must be paid, taking into account any amount of temporary or voluntary support that has been paid.

So Where do I Start?

We often suggest that it is always good to start by speaking with an experienced divorce and family law attorney first. This will allow for the lawyer to assist you in the next steps including the gathering of any necessary information and paperwork as well to help in preparing petitions or other legal items.

At Duenas Eden Law, we are experienced and trusted divorce and family law attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Chandler, Tempe, Laveen, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley in child support and other family law matters. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Duenas Eden remains open and available to help during these trying times. We are back in the office and offering videoconferencing appointments as much as possible. Per CDC guidelines, we are wearing masks and request that anyone visiting our offices do so as well. If you feel ill, please let us know and we will be happy to reschedule your appointment.

Sources:
https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/01302.htm


Attorneys Amy Duenas and Dorian Eden

| Attorneys at Law Family Law | July 20, 2020

Attorney Amy Duenas

Amy Duenas is an Arizona native, born and raised in the East Valley.  Upon graduating from high school, sh attended the University of Arizona, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration, with a major in Business Economics. Amy then attended the University of Denver College of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate. She also had the opportunity to serve the Denver community by working in the University of Denver College of Law Student Law Office, Family Law Clinic. Upon graduating from law school, Amy returned home to Arizona to be near her family and to take the bar exam. Attorney Amy Duenas was admitted to the practice of law in 2003, and since that time has devoted her practice to Family Law, as she feels that is where she is best able to help others with difficult transitions in their family lives.

Amy loves living in Arizona, and enjoys all that the State has to offer and to balance to her life she explores the State, and spend time with her family.

Areas of Practice
Dissolution of Marriage • Legal Separation • Legal Decision Making and Parenting Time • Child Support • Juvenile Guardianship • Adult Guardianship • Adoption

Litigation Percentage
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions
Arizona, 2003 • U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 2004

Attorney Dorian L. Eden

Originally from the Chicago area, attorney Dorian L. Eden graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During college, she decided to explore and expand beyond my Midwestern roots, spending summers working as an intern in Washington, D.C. and clerking for judges in Phoenix and Sacramento. Dorian returned to the Midwest for law school, attending Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she graduated cum laude. As an attorney, Dorian is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; per rated for highest level of professional excellence. After shoveling one too many driveways in the Midwest, Dorian packed up the day after graduation and began driving to Phoenix, where she has lived ever since. Dorian began her legal career at Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., first as an associate and then as a partner. She then moved to The Law Offices of Scott David Stewart, PLLC. In 2012, Dorian decided her clients would be better served if she had her own firm. For five years, Eden Law Office, PLLC operated in Ahwatukee. Duenas Eden continues to provide exceptional service to their clients.

Dorian loves Phoenix, the desert and all the great outdoor activities Arizona has to offer. She enjoys hiking and running and is very active in the community and has served on the Ahwatukee YMCA Board of Managers since 2013.

Areas of Practice
Family Law • Divorce • Spousal support • Guardianships/Conservatorships • Personal Injury

Litigation Percentage
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions
Arizona, 2002 •  U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 2002 •  U.S. District Court District of New Mexico

Together we are the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC

Our entire practice emphasizes a successful, personalized attorney-client relationship. To that end, it is important for you to feel comfortable with your attorney. We spend time learning about your goals and your concerns.  That way we can create a strategy together to help you through this process.  Family law is a difficult area of law to navigate and often what seems fair or right is not realistic in Arizona. Our Office is located in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.


Divorce

| Divorce Family Law | July 15, 2020

Dissolution of marriage, otherwise known as divorce, can be a complex matter in a seemingly simple request; to legally end a marriage. This complexity consists of many factors including emotional, financial and familial. In this article we will discuss these 3 main areas.

What is divorce?

As stated above, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage contract. Arizona is considered a “no fault” state. This means that there is no need to prove fault, such as adultery or infidelity, to request a divorce. Since marriage is a legal agreement filed with the state, divorce also requires similar legal filings in order to officially and legally bring about the end to a marriage.

 

Emotions in a Divorce

It goes without saying in most divorce proceedings that there is a significant amount of emotion tied into the matter. Emotions on both sides such as anger, hate, animosity, guilt, jealously and even love can cause disruptions in the process. This is why it is imperative to have an experienced divorce lawyer represent you in your divorce. Not only will the attorney prepare and file all the necessary legal paperwork, they are able to be a clear minded and clear emotional advocate seeking the best outcome for you.

 

Financial Factors or Assets in a Divorce

Arizona is a community property state. This simply means that while the spouses are married all the “commingled” assets and debts belong equally to both. So in a dissolution of marriage these assets and debts are divided among the parties. Separate property, being considered as assets or debt acquired by a spouse prior and separate from the marriage, is still considered sole owned by one of the spouses and will not be considered for division. However this separate property can have liens placed on them by a judge in order to secure payment of assets that are not easily liquidated or disposed [A.R.S. § 25-319(e)].  Also one thing to keep in mind is that the division of community assets are not always an exact 50/50 split, many factors including valuations and debt may cause a slight shift one way or the other. In fact if an agreement is not met between the divorcing spouses regarding assets, the judge ultimately has the final say.

With regards to assets and other obligations in the event of a divorce, pre-planning with a pre or even post-nuptial agreement can ease the transition in a divorce especially among assets. But it should be noted that this is a set up well in advance and in agreement with both spouses prior to a dissolution of marriage on how the assets and other obligations will be handled in the event of a divorce.

 

Children in a Divorce

As with many marriages, children are often born and/or raised during this time. It is typically not even a consideration when couples begin their families that they may eventually divorce, and this is where the complexity enters. Most often both parents love and want “what’s best” for their children; however that idea may not always be the same in the minds of the individual divorcing parents. “Joint custody”, “sole custody”, “parenting plans” and “child support” now enter the conversation and for parents that have differing beliefs of “what’s best” for their child, this becomes forefront in much of the emotion and argument. This is prime example of the need for an experienced family law attorney. Your attorney will seek for the best outcome in the child custody proceedings and will help guide you through the best plans and course of action.

You Are Not Alone

For some, divorce is difficult and may feel like you are left all alone; you are not! We will be your attorney, advocate and friend in this difficult time. We are the Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, in Phoenix, Arizona. We will work with you one-on-one as your lawyer to help and guide you in your divorce. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.


Challenging Times and Family Law (Divorce, Child Custody, Assets)

| Attorneys at Law Family Law | March 25, 2020

In Times of Challenge

Sometimes couples are pushed to their limits in times of crisis. Many times, we are glad to say, they come out stronger and better together in the end. However not every couple does well under pressure, whether it be financial struggle and uncertainty, health problems or social challenges. Unfortunately with the current pandemic, we are starting to see all of those challenges coming together at once.

Financial Struggle

Let’s face it, the current financial situation in the country, and world, hit us like a ton of bricks with relatively little warning. Governments and the private sector needed to act swiftly and as a result some of us got caught in the mix without warning. Working from home, reduced hours, furloughs, and yes even permanent closures of businesses resulting in workers being laid off, have rapidly increased the financial uncertainty and stress on families. With congress announcing “stimulus packages” and what to do to come out of this financial crisis, many of us remember vividly the last time we, as a county, were in a similar situation financially. We strongly encourage couples to seek advice from professionals at this time. Financial professionals such as financial planners, CPA’s and even other legal professionals that have seen and been through this before can offer advice to hopefully allow couples and families to come out of this stronger. We also encourage those that have recently been through a divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance proceedings or other family law related issues to contact a family law attorney to discuss and review the financial arrangements and obligations in this current financial atmosphere and to make sure you and your assets are protected.

Health Problems

Please let us be clear, we are not medical doctors and we are not offering any medical advice in this article. However, we are sharing with you that health problems within a family sometimes rise to the level of the need for family law legal advice. Health concerns, whether it be personal or regarding a spouse or family member, can cause stress and friction within a relationship. As with the preceding paragraph, we strongly encourage you to seek out advice from licenced professionals and counselors regarding this matter. Medical doctors, therapists and counselors can help give better clarity regarding theses matters.  If there are legal questions that arise, please seek out the advice from an attorney to help guide and direct you with regards to the legal matters.

Social Challenges

With the term “Social Distancing” entering into our common vernacular, along with “stay-at-home” orders and “self quarantines”, we are entering a time that can challenge the very nature of what makes us human. It has become natural for us to socialize and gather with like-minded individuals. Without social interactions, courtships and gatherings the very idea of “coupling” or marriage may not have even formed. Even after family relationships are forged, we are still naturally social beings and we seek direct and close social engagement not only with our spouses and families, but others as well. As a result of some of the directives in social distancing and self quarantining, some may now feel “trapped” or “cut off” from their normal lives. And even as this opportunity gives us a time as couples and families to be together, some may feel overwhelmed. A spouse that is “always there” may not be the most ideal family situation and may lead to further discord. Once again seek advice from professionals that can assist in this regard and if there is a need for advice from a family law attorney, please reach out and gain insight and direction.

What We can All Agree on

We’re sure what we can all come to an agreement on is that we would like this current pandemic to end. As we all do our part we know that we will become stronger in certain regards and that the current situation will not be “forever”. We want you to know that we are here for you in this trying time. If you have any legal questions regarding your current family arrangement or are seeking advice for the future, please call our office at (480) 285-1735. We are Duenas Eden Law, PLC and we are trusted family law attorneys focusing on family law related issues including; divorce, child custody cases, child support, spousal support, same-sex legal issues and other family law matters servicing Ahwatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.


Top Rated Attorney in Phoenix, AZ Ahwatukee - AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubble