Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines were recently revised. The new Guidelines can be found here They were adopted by the Supreme Court of Arizona on April 22, 2021 and they’re effective for all child support orders entered on or after 1-1-2022 – except defaults.
The changes from the 2018 Guidelines to these (which are officially the 2022 Guidelines but which I’ll also refer to as “new”) are extensive, so I’ll cover highlights of the new areas in several posts.
Exciting (for me): The new guidelines have an index! I had to create my own Index for the old ones, so having this done for me already is exciting. And the contents are very descriptive and helpful.
Also exciting: the new guidelines have a correlation table to the old Guidelines:
As you can see from this table, the changes in the Guidelines’ structure are MAJOR. But the Table of Contents and the Correlation Table should take care of most problems with trying to reconcile the updated Guidelines with the former (2018) version.
I’ve found it best to not try to compare the 2022 version to the prior version (2018). It’s easier to start fresh and pretend like you aren’t familiar with the prior Guidelines. While some people complain that there isn’t a red-lined version of the Guidelines to do a quick comparison, a redline would be completely impossible based on the extensive structural changes to the Guidelines. No redline – get over it.
PRACTICE TIP. When calculating or even discussing child support, don’t rely on your tried-and-true memories of how the Guidelines tells us to handle the calculation of a parent’s income, or what do to with overtime/ second job income, or varying/ non-recurring income (bonuses, commissions, etc). Just don’t rely on memory. Case law and these Guidelines revisions have changed things and old Guidelines Section V on these issues is fairly decimated. Go read the new Guidelines before you speak to these issues you thought you once understood. Old Section V is new Section II(A) which has multiple sub-parts.
What are we used to from prior Guidelines that are now gone, or different? That will be the subject of some blog posts, as I get around to each Section of the Guidelines. Here’s my start.
The Schedule of Support Obligations (the tables of income and CS amounts at the back of the Guidelines) are totally overhauled. If you had CS amounts memorized from the old Guidelines then (a) get a life; and (b) forget what you knew. All the amounts are different from what I can see, although some numbers not by much.
The new tables go up to joint incomes of $30,000 per month ($2572 for one child at that joint amount); the old ended at combined incomes of $20,000 per month (CS of $1744 for one child at that joint amount). The tables still show CS amounts for one to six children.
Worksheet/ Excel Spreadsheet. Is the Excel spreadsheet calculator available yet for the new Guidelines? Yes, and here it is: CS Calculator 2022 Version 2.0b26
and thanks to the committee and to attorney Jennifer Mihalovich in particular for providing it to me.
How has the court’s treatment of deviations to the CS amount changed?
Section IX – Deviations. (This used to be Section 20— remember to check the Correlation Table!) Deviations are defined, and the findings for a deviation (upward or downward) seem to remain the same as in the old Guidelines—there don’t seem to be substantive changes for the court to find a deviation to the CS amount. [I found a typo at the top of page 25, Section IX(C)(1), by the way]
The new Guidelines give examples of circumstances that may warrant a deviation, and describe what is NOT a deviation. These are brand-new and did not appear at all in the prior Guidelines. See new Section IX(D) and (E) for those new examples.
That’s it for Part II. More parts to follow.