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Adjusting a child support obligation to include child care costs

In many families in Arizona, both parents work in order to support the family. When there are young children, parents might need to have child care for the children. This usually costs money. If the parents divorce, it does not alleviate the need for child care. However, the basic child support obligation does not include money for child care costs.

Child care costs can be added to the basic child support obligation. However, the custodial parent is entitled to a tax credit for childcare expenses and that credit is taken into account when setting the obligation for child care. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule. Lower income families who would not be eligible for the credit and families with split custody may not need to adjust the child care costs for the tax credit.

However, for many couples the adjustment will be made. If there is one child and the cost of childcare is more than $200 per month then the court may deduct $50 from the total amount paid for child care and add the remaining amount to the basic child support obligation. If it is less than $200 then the court would deduct 25% of the childcare costs from the total amount paid.

If there are two or more children and the total childcare amount is $400 or more, then the court would deduct $100 to adjust for the tax credit. If the total amount is less $400, the court may deduct 25% of the costs from the total cost.

Many times after a divorce in Arizona, both parents work and the children are in need of childcare. The childcare costs can be added to the basic child support obligation. However, there may be a deduction to adjust for the tax credit received by the custodial parent. Child support law can be complicated, but experienced attorneys are available to help guide divorcing spouses through it.

Source: Superior Court of Maricopa County, "Arizona Child Support Guidelines" accessed on October 26, 2015

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