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Can you modify a child support order in Arizona?

by | Oct 20, 2018 | Child Custody |

It may have been a few years since you finalized your divorce and one of the thing you may not have taken into consideration at that time is just how different your life would be today. You may have found that the child support payments that were once manageable are now a struggle. Have you ever wondered if you could modify your child support payment? The good news is, yes, there is a process in the state of Arizona that can assist you in getting your child support payment either raised or reduced.

Why you might request a modification

Either parent can request a modification of payment. In Arizona, any change made can only be done by the Superior Court. Typically, a court will consider your request for a change if there is a considerable change in either of the parent’s income or if there is a change in the needs of the child. If you have been the one paying child support, a job loss or a situation where your income has changed substantially could justify a modification. The parent who is receiving the support payment can also request a modification if circumstances such as education expenses or medical costs have increased dramatically.

Standard procedure

Arizona has two options for filing a modification: a standard procedure and a simplified procedure. With the standard procedure, the parent must explain that there is a change in lifestyle that is both substantial and continuing which directly effects making the current payment. Other factors besides job loss or medical bills can include changes in the custody arrangement or other unanticipated events that have caused expenses to be taken away from the obligations of child support.

Simplified procedure

If the amount of child support you are currently paying has a 15 percent change after filling out the document commonly referred to as the parent’s worksheet for child support, you can file a petition called a simplified procedure. This calculation will assume there is a substantial and continuing situation. Using a simplified procedure can save time and expenses for court hearings.

Once either type of request is filed, the other parent will receive documentation of the request. If there is an agreement with both parents, the modification can be changed immediately. However, if the other parent disagrees with the order, they will have 20 days to file an objection. A hearing will take place where both parents can speak for or against a modification.

If you are facing circumstances that have you contemplating a child support modification, there is help available for you. You should get the assistance of an experienced family law expert who can guide you through the process of modification and answer any questions you may have.