The best place to start on the topic of child support is first, define just what “Child Support” actually is and what it means. In the family law Courts, child support is the ongoing, periodic payment made by one parent to the other parent or guardian for the financial benefit of their joint child at the end of a marriage or live-in relationship. Child support is paid directly or indirectly by wage assignment to the Arizona Clearinghouse, who then disburses check payment by the higher earning parent to the lesser earning parent, even sometimes if they both have equal time with the child or children.

In mediation at WHYmediate Mediation Services, we can assist you with arriving at a substantially fair agreement for child support and or past support if it is owed, even if it is different than what a Court would order.  The state of Arizona respects when people enter agreements and will support an agreement on child support, even if it differs from the exact Arizona Guidelines on Child Support, as long as it appears to be fair and the children will be cared for financially.  That is the beauty of mediation – you can save time and money going to Court and still have a fair child support order.

In Arizona, you can work with the Attorney General’s office to establish your child support case and to collect past support, along with uncovered medical expenses and other special needs your child might have. At WHYmediate Mediation Services, we can also help you work together with the Attorney General, due to our experience working with them and the Court on child support matters.

After your child support is set up, you have a right to modify your child support when either parent experiences changes in income, when a parent expands their family with another child,or when any other issues arise that would change your child support order by more than 15%.  You always have a right to go back to Court and modify the child support if you can show the outcome change, even if it has been less than one year since your last child support order.

While the Court always maintains jurisdiction with respect to child support, there are many aspects that can be mediated.  This could range from determining an initial amount, agreeing to modification, or setting out the terms by which the amount overdue might be made up or even forgiven in part (if that is appropriate).  Once parties agree to the child support terms, this should be taken to the Court for approval.  Because the mediated terms are uncontested, however, the Court will most likely grant your changes as a new order, and if it is done through WHYmediate Mediation Services, then we will ensure that the order is accepted and granted by your judge. This will end up being far less expensive than hiring two attorneys and going through protracted litigation process.  The advantage of mediation is not just to save time and expense, however.  A key advantage of mediation is that it allows for better more meaningful solutions and to have control in reaching them.