How To Modify Child Support In Arizona
Whether you are getting divorced or separating from a partner you’ve lived with, the process is not easy if there are children involved. The most important thing to remember is that both parents are required to continue to support their children after separation regardless of the parenting time or visitation arrangements. Having an Arizona family law attorney by your side will help you get through this the best way possible.
Child support payments are court-ordered and must be paid. However, there are ways that these payments can be modified. Today, we want to discuss how this can be done as well as some of the common reasons a parent may wish to petition the court for a modification.
Please take court orders seriously
The National Child Support Strategic Plan says that child support payments are meant, “To encourage responsible parenting, family self-sufficiency and child well-being.”
Luckily, Arizona state law provides guides for how much child support payments will be through an Income Shares Model. We need you to understand that child support is court-ordered, and you can get into serious trouble for not paying it in full and on time each month. It can be tempting to work with the other parent on an unofficial basis for situations that you think are temporary.:
“Hey, would you mind if I make two payments next month? I’m a little low on money this month.”
“My job laid me off, so can we stop payments for a bit?”
“Hey, I know you’re now making more money, so send me more in child support.”
Working outside of the court system is not a good idea. While you may be on good terms with the other parent, that may not always be the case, and any unofficial arrangements are not legally binding in the future.
There are ways to get child support modifications. In fact, they are quite common, and Arizona has a way to deal with this. For parents who separate when children are young, it is almost always going to be necessary to make changes over time. This could be due to:
- The paying parent gets a better job, and the receiving parent requests more money.
- The paying parent gets laid off and needs a temporary modification to lower the amount.
- One parent begins working after years of being unemployed.
When you need a modification to child support, the sooner you act, the better. If you need to lower your payments, acting quickly will lessen the amount you end up owing. Please remember that back child support payments do not go anywhere. You are responsible for making all current and missed payments.
- In Arizona, you can face a misdemeanor or felony charge for not making child support payments. These both come with jail/prison time and fines. You will still be required to pay missed child support payments upon your release.
- Understand that the courts do not look favorably on anyone who quits a job to avoid paying child support and will not grant a modification if they believe that is what has happened.
When you need to petition for a modification, please be organized. Gather all of your financial documents, including pay stubs, W2s, and tax returns.
What happens moving forward
We know that nothing about this process is easy. Whether you are just going through a divorce or separation or are seeking a modification to child support payments, you may need help from an Arizona family law attorney.
This can be an emotional situation, but please remember that there are consequences for not paying child support on time and in full. Never make alternate child support arrangements that are outside of the court order. If you have any questions, an Arizona child support attorney will be able to answer your questions.
Click here for an article on busting some child support myths in Arizona.