Legal Thoughts by Thomas A Morton

caring, family law attorney in Phoenix, AZ

A recent Arizona Court of Appeals decision addressed attributing overtime income and use of a medical insurance cost incurred for multiple people in calculating child support.  The court ruled that under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, the family court may not attribute income over a normal full-time work schedule without a showing that the parent historically earned overtime income and anticipates earning the overtime income in the future.    Also, the court must prorate the amount a parent spends on medical insurance when the amount is for the children in the child support calculation and others.  For example, a father pays for medical insurance through his employer for himself, Child A, and Child B.  Child A and Child B have…
For many years, fathers in Arizona have not been treated fairly when their children were born out of wedlock.  Recently, the Arizona Court of Appeals changed that.  Children born out of wedlock in Arizona are in the sole care and custody of the mother until a court orders otherwise.  This makes sense because the maternity of a child is beyond question, while that is not the case with paternity.   However, Arizona has long had statutes that say that when a father has established paternity, he has a right to access to his child and that one parent may not deny access to the child to the other parent.  For years, however, courts have not held that these statutes mean…
Sometimes the court making the award for child support or spousal maintenance is only the first step in actually receiving support. Often, the challenging part of being a divorced or single parent is dependence on the other party even though the parties’ marriage is over.  The other party may move from job to job, move to another state, or just plain refuse to pay. Examples of Enforcement Issues Other orders in a divorce decree may need enforcement action. For example, one parent may might limit or prevent parenting time/visitation in violation of the court’s orders.  The other party might not make payments that the court ordered, like mortgage or car loan payments.  The other party might not pay insurance premiums…
Late last year the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on a case in which the former husband filed for bankruptcy one month after the Family Court entered his divorce decree dividing the former wife's pension and a substantial amount of community debt.  People often consider filing for bankruptcy after their divorce or worry that their former spouse may file bankruptcy.  This case directly addressed the subject.   The Family Court evenly divided the former wife's pension and ordered each party to pay one-half of the wife's student loan debt, and allocated about $15,000 in credit card debt among the parties.  The former husband then immediately filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief and received a discharge as to all of the debt.  The…
Sometimes it seems like I can't think of everything about which to warn my clients.  This story is a little old, but it serves as an example.  Don't let your child's grandfather take your five-year-old child into the desert and leave her under a tree with a cocked and locked (i.e. very nealry ready to fire) .45 so he can go have a cheeseburger and some beer (and don't do this yourself!).  This will not help you in family court.  No one should ever have to tell someone something like this, but here is a guy who actaully needed someone to tell him to not do it: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/southwest-valley/breaking/2015/11/02/mcso-says-man-left-granddaughter-5-desert-loaded-gun/75060252/  You must always protect your child and can't always trust your loved…
You should hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce for several reasons.  The first and most important reason is that the attorney is not as emotionally invested in your case as you.  You are very emotional about your divorce and emotional people often make bad decisions, including decisions that cost them dearly in terms of money, family, and aggravation.  An attorney can give you good advice not clouded with anger or other emotions that hinder good judgment.   Another reason to hire an attorney is that the attorney knows the law and rules of procedure.  Many people think that they know the law, but they often do not know the law nearly as well as they think.  An…
Thursday, 13 April 2017 12:23

How Arizona Courts Calculate Child Support

Arizona courts calculate child support pursuant to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.  The Arizona Supreme Court posted the Guidelines on its website here: https://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/sscDocs/pdf/drs10hz.pdf   The Arizona Supreme Court also published an Arizona child support calculator here: http://www.azcourts.gov/familylaw/2015-Child-Support-Calculator   Parents can calculate child support using the online calculator.   The Arizona Child Support calculator uses a formula which calculates the basic child support amount based on the combined gross monthly income of the parents.  If a parent is purposely unemployed or underemployed, the court can attribute an income that the court believes that parent can earn.  The court will generally not include overtime or income from a second job when that parent already has a full-time job.  The gross monthly…
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Thomas A. Morton, P. L. L. C.
2916 N. 7th Avenue, Suite 100
Phoenix, Arizona 85013
(602) 595-6870
info@thomasamortonlaw.com

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