by David Sheffield
School is coming to an end and for thousands of Arizona high schoolers, and in the midst of all the plans for college, summer jobs, prom, and everything else, it's easy for separated parents to lose track of a less glamorous issue like child support, but if your child has reached the age of 18 and is about to graduate from high school, you should consider a child support modification or termination.
There are rare exceptions, but generally speaking Arizona child support laws do not require a parent to support a child who has reached age 18 and has graduated high school. Even though the law automatically terminates a parent's obligation in theory, court action may still be necessary to put the theory into practice, either by terminating the payments altogether or by modifying the payments if there are still other minor children that the parent is obligated to support. Many parents pay their child support through automatic withholdings from their paychecks known as wage garnishments and if so, it's a good idea to file the appropriate action before the child actually emancipates, because even though the law makes a modified child support order effective on the first day of the month after notice of the request to modify is given, it often takes payroll a few pay cycles to catch up to the changed circumstances.
The number of children subject to a child support order is an important factor in determining the payments but it is not the only factor. Arizona's child support guidelines also include considerations such as the income of the parents, the schedule of parenting time, who is paying for health insurance and others. Before filing a child support modification action, it is best to consult with an Arizona Family Law attorney and run some calculations based on all of the current circumstances to see if a child support reduction is warranted.