At times, a child support arrangement that the court previously ordered proves to be unfeasible. After all, life is unpredictable, so you may have lost your job or suffered a serious injury that has prevented you from being able to continue with your current payments.
Fortunately, you have the option of asking the court to modify your child support. A few tips may help you to successfully pursue this option.
Take swift action
If you cannot keep up with your current child support payment amount, you will continue to owe any unpaid amount in arrears. You cannot discharge your child support debt in bankruptcy, and you generally cannot reduce it retroactively.
For this reason, pursuing a modification of your child support amount as soon as your financial circumstances change, or when you find out they will, is critical.
You cannot change your child support amount unless your circumstances have undergone a substantial change. In the state of Arizona, that means there must be a change of 15 percent or more in your obligation if your support is recalculated based on state guidelines. In addition, this change in your circumstances must be a continuing one, not a merely temporary one, such as incarceration or unemployment that is short term.
Work toward an agreement
The parent receiving your child support payments might agree to have your payment modified. In many situations, this can be challenging. However, if you can come to an agreement on this, it will save you the time, money and potential stress of litigation in the long term.
Keep making payments
As you wait for a modification of your child support, stay on top of your current payments as much as possible. This is necessary because your current order is still in effect until a judge issues you a brand-new one. Failure to put forth your best effort may end up harming your argument for a new support amount.
Document the changes you are going through
Demonstrating the change you have experienced is paramount for attaining the modification you need. This is true whether it is a change in your job, a household income change or a medical disability, for example. The more detailed and accurate you are, the better your chances of getting your child support modified.