Whether you pay child support or receive monthly payments on behalf of your children, financial circumstances often change over time. Arizona law allows either parent to ask for a change in the amount of court-ordered child support in the face of significant life changes.
Learn more about what circumstances qualify for a child support modification and how the process works in Arizona.
Eligible life changes
State law requires “a significant and continuing change” in the household to grant a child support modification. Examples include:
- Decreased or increased income in either parent’s home
- Job loss
- Changes or additions in health insurance for the child
- Change in cost of child care
- Change in parenting time
- The birth or adoption of another child by either parent
The judge has the discretion to refuse a modification request if the change in question is voluntary. For example, if a parent who pays child support quits his or her job, the mandated child support amount would remain the same regardless of the change in income.
Modification review process
First, you must submit the Request for Modification Review form to the court that issued your initial child support order. This document requires proof of your current financial situation, and the court will also gather these details from the other parent.
Arizona will allow a modification only when the changed circumstances would change child support by the lesser amount of $50 or 20%. Once you initiate a review, the court will move forward with the modification where appropriate. The requesting parent cannot rescind the request if it results in an unfavorable outcome.
The process of modification takes about six months. If the court orders a new amount of child support, it will take effect on the first day of the following month. Remember that modification is available only in continuing changed circumstances. Families should not request support modification based on a temporary change in situation or income.