Ali v. Ali

  • Do you need to register an out-of-state child support under UIFSA if neither party is required to pay support?

Facts and Procedural History

The parties were married with one child in California. The parties filed for divorce in California, and Mother and the child moved to Arizona while the divorce was pending. The parties agreed that Mother would have sole legal and physical custody based on a history of domestic violence. The California court ordered that California would relinquish UCCJEA jurisdiction to Arizona upon the entry of the divorce decree. Father then registered the California orders in Arizona pursuant to the UCCJEA.

Two years later, Father filed for modification of custody and requested that the Arizona court enter a child support order. Father stated on the record that California never entered a child support order. But after the order was entered, Father disputed Arizona’s jurisdiction to order child support.

Father cited Glover v. Glover, where the court of appeals held that a child support order must be registered to confer subject matter jurisdiction on Arizona courts under UISFA. 231 Ariz. 1 (App. 2012). The trial court denied Father’s motion to amend, and Father appealed.

Ruling

  • A zero-dollar child support award from another state is a valid order that, under Glover, must be registered in Arizona before it can be modified.
  • Glover doesn’t apply here because Father never introduced evidence of another child support order. Because there was nothing in the record to suggest there was an existing order, the trial court had the authority to enter an order.
  • Father may be able to motion for relief from judgment if he can produce the existing order (because a contest to subject matter jurisdiction is never waived).

Ali v. Ali, 1 CA-CV 21-0434 FC (App. Apr. 26, 2022).

Illustration of children with back to school supplies

New Arizona Child Support Guidelines

The new version of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines will become effective on January 1, 2022. The guidelines have been updated and reorganized, but retain the same basic structure as the previous version from 2018. This article will focus on significant changes between the 2018 and 2022 guidelines.

Section II.A: Determining Child Support Income

The definition of Child Support Income remains basically the same–broadly defined to include income from all sources before any deductions or withholdings. Seasonal or fluctuating income is annualized and the court may average fluctuating income over periods exceeding one year. Cash value is assigned to in-kind or other non-cash employment benefits. Income does not include benefits from means-tested public assistance programs.

Income from self-employment, rental, or proprietorship of a business remains unchanged. Self-employment income is defined as gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income.

NEW: Additional language was added to reflect that parents may work less overtime if it helps them spend more time with the children:

A parent who historically worked overtime when the family was intact may choose to reduce or not to work overtime hours to ensure the parent has meaningful interaction with the child during that parent’s parenting time.

The new guidelines also expand the definition of “extraordinary work regimen” to include “the parent’s relevant medical or personal circumstances.” This language did not appear in the old guidelines.

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