Reader: Relief that COBS not Adopted in Arizona
Below is an email I received from Kathy, a reader in Arizona. Last July I reported here, here and here on the fairly surreptitious efforts by the State of Arizona to radically increase child support amounts for noncustodial parents there. Not only was there just one public meeting on the proposed new guidelines, but the media doggedly ignored the issue. Our reader is writing to give us an update on events in the Grand Canyon State, and the news is good! You probably remember me writing to you last July, and letting you know about the new alimony-based child support guidelines that Arizona was proposing called COBS ( Child Outcome Based Support), the premise of which was to nearly equalize income in both mom's and dad's post-divorce homes, regardless of other factors. You published several blogs about it, in an effort to help wake up the people in AZ in time to put a stop to it. We had until this October to mount an opposition. Your blog was posted and reposted on several websites over the month of July. People began to find out about COBS, and the word began to spread. I began to see mention of it in other places, such as comments on news articles, and parenting websites. A TV station, Channel 5 in Phoenix, did a story on it. Many people, after reading your blogs, wrote to the Arizona Judicial Committee, and the Child Support Guideline Review Committee, and those comments were publically posted for the Judicial Committee to consider. The meeting to give final approval to the new plan was held on October 21, and I am pleased to say, COBS did NOT get final approval. The Arizona Judicial Committee declined to give approval to COBS as it is, citing the very high awards at higher income levels, and the fact that this will cause massive numbers of cases that currently are negotiated, to be litigated, thus tying up the courts forever. They have decided, for the time being, to continue with the Income Shares model currently in use, and to send this proposal to the legislature for their opinion, and for further revisions to make it more equitable. They will revisit it next October, so for now, COBS is on the backshelf. It is possible,even probable, that COBS will never pass, since, in most cases, COBS child support awards were higher than current child support and alimony combined, and there is considerable opposition to that. I just wanted to let you know how it turned out, and thank you for your assistance in getting the word out. We are all much relieved here in AZ.