What is COBS?

1. COBS stands for “Child Outcome Based Support”; it is a proposed economic model to change the way that child support is calculated in Arizona

2. The COBS model is based on raising the amount of child support paid by the higher earning parent to ensure a better lifestyle for the lower earning parent with the intent that it will provide trickle-down benefits to the children.

3. Increases of 50% to 400% or more above current child support amounts will not be uncommon.

4. COBS is hidden spousal maintenance (alimony).

  1. John Patrick Lewis
    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    If one parent can provide better for the children, instead of taxing that parent in the form of continued alimoney, maybe we should let that more responsible and capable parent have custody.

    • Timothy
      April 2, 2011 at 9:16 am

      Caution! COBS is NOT DEAD. It’s “stuck” in the Arizona State legislature. Also see SB 1192, of year 2010, which partially blocks COBS from implementation. House of Representatives (Arizona); find your district and call or email your representatives and ask them to vote YEA on SB 1192. This is important, step 1. We can go to step 2 once we get COBS block by SB 1192. Sponsors are Gray, Barto, Allen.

    • Timothy Frank
      December 1, 2011 at 6:37 am

      I just reviewed the meeting notes, records, submittals, and minutes of the October, 2010 meeting of the Arizona Judicial Council. You all are AWESOME! The materials produced by our miscreant group of advocates is entirely impressive. GREAT STUFF! Keep in touch!

  2. Damian
    August 24, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Once we defeat COBS, Arizonans For Sensible Policy should go even further. We should fight to overhaul the entire child support Philosophy. There are some pretty smart guys behind the entire defeat COBS organization. I know Non-custodial parents could design and engineer a more rational way to support children, a way that makes more sense then just treating dads and non-custodial parents like paychecks $$$.

  3. Jane Done
    August 29, 2010 at 4:56 am

    I think it’s ridiculous that welfare moms can still stick it to hard working fathers to support them in the disguise of child support. Child support should go to the children and help their growth but not motivate parents to not work because someone else will pay their bills. Where’s the motivation for any adult to work hard and be financially responsible for their own children if they can continue to financially exploit non-custodial parents that LOVE their kids. I’m tired of one parent using their children as a bargaining tool to get more money to sit at home. Please help make child support fair and reasonable. Keep the focus on kids and what’s best for them rather than how they can get rich from an ex.

  4. Andrew Day
    September 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    The existing formula is a mess, so I applaud the effort to ratify AZ Child Support, but COBS is far from a viable solution and is even worse than what we have now. COBS continues to punish hard work and reward laziness to a further extreme than the current system we have in place. As it stands now, our brilliant support committee does nothing but raise support every four years, even when the economy crashes. COBS basically attempts to equalize income with the argument of the child being able to enjoy the same standard of living in both homes. It does not consider that a second marriage in the life of the custodial parent can have the child living in a nice home at one location, and a one bedroom mobile home in a bad neighborhood at another. This is far from an equal standard of living. It also does not take into account the situation of children born from multiple parents. As with current support rules, there is no accountability for the distribution of funds; meaning there is nothing in place to ensure that the money goes to the child at all. Mom can still purchase a $500 Gucci purse or a custodial Father can make his Harley Davidson payments with child support. COBS does not solve or even address the current issues with child support and does nothing but increase it to the point of being out of reach for already struggling non-custodial parents. It’s as if the COBS model was designed by children at a gradeschool level of education who have never stepped foot in a family courtroom. There is zero science and research to back up the model, and mountains of logic and evidence to show that this will only hurt the families and children in the end.

    • clay
      September 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      Very inciteful and well put. I agree entirely. . .

  5. Timothy
    September 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    COBS is just an extension of the idea that child support – reallocating parental income – is a solution to the following social ills: underpaid women, non-paying father or mother, consequences of divorce.

    The National Organization of Women representative from Scottsdale, and the national representative, both asserted that child support payment increases are an answer to women being underpaid in the workforce. One mother asserted that COBS is a solution to the non-paying father problem. Other supporters of COBS deflect the obvious perception that COBS shelters the lower wage earning parent from the consequences of divorce or unwed childbirth.

    All of these claims are false.

    Worse, the National Organization of Women is sadly misinformed. In Arizona, about 9 of 10 “custodial parents” are women. Further, women represent roughly 50% of high wage earners in the work-force today. Although they may indeed earn something less than their male counterpart, they still are high wage earners. COBS requires these high wage earners, whether the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent, to pay the other parent, male or female, father or mother. All parties will be obligated to pay 30% of their income to the other parent, if they earn above approximately two times the other parent. Including women, in the custodial parent position.

    COBS will hurt step-families particularly hard. A responsible mother or father who finds a responsible partner and remarries will be particularly punished under COBS. COBS requires the court to consider the economic benefit of a spouse or live-in partner as a component of child support. Remarrying thus qualifies your new partners “economic benefit” to “transfer” to your ex-spouse or ex-partner.

    The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence is sadly misinformed. COBS can do nothing about non-paying fathers or mothers, nor can “forcing” an ex-partner to pay significantly larger sums of cash to another person, ever possibly fix the domestic violence behavior of an individual. To believe so is to punish the majority of responsible parents for the sins of a relatively few. Requiring higher support payments can do nothing to force an already non-paying partner to pony up.

    The Guidelines Review Committee itself is sadly misinformed. Forcing a higher wage earning parent to equalize the standard of living of their ex-partner is a naive idea. There are many second partners today, with children, who will be punished under COBS. Just “who’s” standard of living will COBS intend to equalize? The first child’s? The second’s? Further, the committee yields the perception that it is simply attempting to isolate or absolve the ex-partner from the consequences of their individual actions. Divorce is the severance of the marital contract … with or without children. Having a child out of wedlock, and not receiving an alimony support payment is a natural consequence of never being married.

    I’d like to apply the same logic as the advocates of COBS do — when I quit my job. You should pay me for the next 18 years because I quit my job and I don’t like you, or because you made me work late, or you and I had a dispute of some kind any time in the past, or just because I felt like leaving (no-fault divorce). And, not only now should you pay me, like it is today, but I want you to equalize my standard of living to be the same as yours.

    Then, I want to follow that logic to the person that quit the job, as the employer side of things. Since you now earn so much more money at your new job, and you worked for me for so long, you should now be required to pay me to equalize my standard of living with yours. After all, fair is fair; you’re doing so much better than I am … and that’s not fair … so I am going to threaten you with jail time, losing your driver license, garnishing your social security payments, your unemployment benefits, taking away your hunting license, stripping you of your passport, and posting your face and your personal information on a State sponsored website for the world to spit upon.

  6. Darryll E Stevens
    October 20, 2010 at 1:23 am

    I have had physical custody of my 2 lil boys since fri feb 13th 2009 and I obtained legal sole custody july 09th 2010 . 1 wk after I was ordered to pay child support my kids mom was arrested an sentenced to 2 yrs in prison . Since then I have waaaay over paid child support , been denied 5 or 6 times by the des office so I don’t get food stamps or have medical insurance for my boys at the moment . Im trying to maintain and Im going to remain with my head held above sea-level so I don’t drown or get ate up swimming with these sharks piranahs an jelly fish !!!!!!

  7. LYNDA
    February 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm


  8. Timothy
    April 2, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Caution! COBS is NOT DEAD. It’s “stuck” in the Arizona State legislature. Also see SB 1192, of year 2010, which partially blocks COBS from implementation. House of Representatives (Arizona); find your district and call or email your representatives and ask them to vote YEA on SB 1192. This is important, step 1. We can go to step 2 once we get COBS block by SB 1192. Sponsors are Gray, Barto, Allen.

  9. May 4, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Crush COBS Victory Picnic

    Saturday, May 7, 2011
    Show at 10 AM, lunch at Noon

    Indian School Park / Ramada 4
    4289 North Hayden Road
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    Tim, Mary Frank will provide main dish, and bottled water. Everybody else bring a dish to share, show off.

    Indian School Park is a 50½-acre park that has 2 large ramadas, 4 small ramadas, 4 sand volleyball courts, 2 lighted basketball full courts, a playground, restrooms, horseshoes, 13 tennis and 4 racquetball courts, a lake, 4 baseball fields, shuffleboard and bocce ball.

    Tim & Mary Frank
    Tel No 480-463-7460 (Home)
    Tel No 623-418-9592 (Mary Cell)
    Tel No 623-695-0986 (Tim Cell)

  10. Timothy
    June 12, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Just received notice from Glenn Sack’s of Father’s and Families, April 24, 2011 newsletter.

    You will find an article of exactly what we stated will happen if COBS is implemented — in the real world.

    I want to caution all advocates for fair child support that we face a daunting challenge. COBS is, in fact, alive and well. It may be a “zombie” here in Arizona. But it is fully active in the state of Indiana. It was approved and is in force. Find attached a PDF document detailing the new Indiana child support guidelines. For those without PDF, an html copy of the reference article is found below.

    We must remain together, and active, and in contact, and continue to objectively oppose COBS at all levels of government: at the legislature, at the state court building, and personally. The consequences of us not doing so are entirely clear from this article.

    Keep in touch,
    Timothy Frank
    Tel No 480-463-7460 (Home)
    Tel No 623-695-0986 (Mobile)

    Attached: http://www.briefsmagazineonline.com/Half_Mil_Child_Support.html
    Attached: PDF copy of website

    Fathers and Families Supports Appeal of Half-Million-Dollar Child Support Order
    February 22nd, 2011 by Glenn Sacks, MA, Executive Director

    Fathers and Families has agreed to be a signatory to an amicus brief in an appeal of a half-million-dollar child support order to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

    Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chair of the Board of Fathers and Families, reviewed the brief at the request of the Indianapolis law firm of Bose, McKinney & Evans, LLP, who incorporated some of his suggestions.

    The Fathers and Families Legal Defense Fund gets involved in legal challenges which can advance the cause of shared parenting and equality in family court. To learn more about some of the cases the F & F LDF has handled, see http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/?page_id=1181.

    Below is Dr. Holstein’s write-up of the case, Bir v. Bir:

    Allan and Cynthia Bir were married in 1990. A petition for divorce was filed in early 2008. Allan was ordered to pay $4,300 per month for support of the two children.

    New Indiana Child Support Guidelines went into effect January 1, 2010. Cynthia filed for modified child support based on the new Guidelines. Because the new Guidelines contain no leveling off of the child support obligation at high incomes, they called for child support of about $1,965,000 per year in this case! (Both children are said to be healthy and to have no special needs.)

    Allan submitted evidence to the court showing that the children’s needs are approximately $8,600 per month, or $103,200 per year total for the two children. The court rejected the $1,965,000 called for by the Guidelines. However, it did not adopt Allan’s reasonable proposal of over $100,000 in child support per year. Instead, it ordered $8,600 per week.
    In other words, Allan submitted evidence supporting an amount of $8,600 per month, and the court ordered $8,600 per week, or $447,200 per year.

    Family court judges are given so much discretion they can make mystifying orders without ever having to explain themselves. As Allan’s lawyer wrote in a brief, “There are no findings which support or even explain why the Father’s budget is inadequate or unreasonable, or why the provisional child support awarded is 4.3 times the amount of Father’s budget.”

    Allan has now appealed his case to the Indiana Court of Appeals, and Fathers and Families has signed on to an amicus brief in support of his appeal. Fathers and Families is considering filing legislation in several states that would place a reasonable ceiling on child support orders. It is hard to see why any child needs more than perhaps $50,000 of tax-free child support per year if the child has no special medical, educational, or psychological needs.

    Parents are free to support a child as lavishly as they like from the love in their hearts, but why should the state be involved in ordering and enforcing such transfers of wealth if parents do not want to do it? Where is the harm to children from receiving “only” $50,000 per year that rises to the level requiring state intervention, if in fact there is any harm whatsoever?

    Aren’t there some circumstances in which a loving and perceptive parent would conclude that a child would in fact be harmed by being showered with excessive material perks? Haven’t we all known the “spoiled kid” who drove a BMW to school every day, and observed the distorted slant on life such children often have?

    Shouldn’t a parent, not the state, have the power to decide what is best for his or her child? Do we really want a state that has the power to compel transfers of wealth from one person to another beyond any reasonable need just because the first party has the money to do it?

    Some people would answer the above questions by pointing to a case in which the custodial parent had little or no income, and that $50,000 or $60,000 per year was needed to maintain an adequate household for the child. This argument raises numerous rejoinders.

    First, the median household income in Indiana in 2009 was $46,579, out of which parents are required to pay income and payroll taxes. How then can someone argue that a household needs more than this amount in tax-free income?

    Second, it will be rare in this age to find a custodial parent who is unable to generate any reasonable income but whose ex-partner is extremely wealthy. So such cases would be rare, and could be handled with a narrowly-drawn clause that would provide for such instances if necessary.

    Every state’s Guidelines should include a ceiling on child support orders for children who do not have special needs or circumstances. Otherwise, we will have judges ordering $447,200 per year based only on their own personal philosophy, without any evidence of need by the child.

    Ned Holstein, MD, MS
    Founder and Chair of the Board
    Fathers and Families is America’s largest family court reform organization. To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.FathersandFamilies.org


  11. Timothy Frank
    December 1, 2011 at 7:02 am

    DRC Meeting Information

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    10:00am to 2:00pm

    Conference Room 119 A/B
    State Courts Building
    1501 W. Washington
    Phoenix, AZ 85007

    Big opportunity to permanently snub the concept of COBS — at this meeting, a proposal to strike “standard of living” from ARS 25-320 is being presented.

    • Timothy Frank
      December 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Regarding A.R.S. 25-320(D)(3). During the fray of 2010 regarding COBS, many times the “standard of living” statute was cited as support for the concept of COBS. What about this paragraph, anyway?

      I want everybody to understand that US Code, section 667 mandates only the application of statewide guidelines, and that they be reviewed every four years. And, technically, these apply only to Title IV(D) cases anyway; yet, the do today extend to “non” Title IV(D) cases. It is mute regarding the “criteria” for determining child support — it’s only concern being “statewide uniform guidelines”.

      Second, the “standard of living” statute is language directly lifted from a recommendation contained in the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, as amended, 1973, section 309 — which, oh by the way — is not an act at all — it is an agreement drafted by the NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF COMMISSIONERS ON UNIFORM STATE LAWS. It is not “the law of the land”, it was never approved by congress.

      In conclusion, the State of Arizona, its citizens, can revoke A.R.S. 25-320(D)(3) at will.

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