Modifying Child Support in Arizona: Everything You Need to Know
A parent may need the modification of a child support order for various reasons. A custodial parent may need more funds to ensure a good life. A non-custodial parent may have the kids living with them for a longer period of time than before. A parent may lose their job… All of these scenarios make it mandatory to look for a review option. Modifying child support in Arizona is possible under certain circumstances. The person that’s looking for a change (especially if they no longer can offer sufficient financial support to their children) will need to file for a modification with court as soon as possible.
Reasons to Request a Review of Child Support Orders
In Arizona, parents may request a review of child support in a number of specific situations. According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, these situations include the following:
- It has been three years since the order was issued or modified for the last time
- Whenever one of the children becomes emancipated
- When a spouse has had a significant change in their income
- A change in custody or parenting time has been ordered by court
- One of the parents has come down with a diagnosed disability
- The noncustodial parent has been incarcerated or released from jail
The custodial parent has the right to seek a review of the child support order whenever the funds currently being received are deemed insufficient to address every need of the child. A review that’s carried out on the basis of this request will typically be based on the current incomes of the two parents.
Applying for Modifying Child Support in Arizona
Arizona courts are quite strict when it comes to the retroactive change of child support, which is why you will have to act as soon as one of the conditions mentioned above is fulfilled. The entire process is started by filling out and submitting a Petition to Modify Child Support.
Filling out the petition itself is a relatively simple task and most parents will be capable of handling it without the assistance of an attorney. The next step is the Child Support Conference of Hearing. This is where things may get tricky. Bringing a lawyer to represent you is usually the most rational approach.
You will be asked to fill out an affidavit and to provide data about your current financial situation. Usually, tax returns and other supporting documents will be required.
On occasions, it may also be possible to rely on a simplified procedure to change child support. Such a simplified procedure can be employed when the change in child support is going to be 15 percent or more different from the current amount.
In that instance, a Simplified Petition for Modification of Child Support will have to be filled out. If the other party doesn’t object or file for a hearing within the specified timeframe, the order for change will become effective automatically.
How Long will it Take?
Keep in mind that modifying child support in Arizona may be a lengthy process.
In some instances, the procedure has been known to last for up to six months. Such a long period of time is required to get financial data from both parties in order to come up with an adequate ruling.
The timeframe for responding to a simplified petition for a change in child support is 20 days. If the other spouse does not respond or schedule a hearing within this timeframe, the order becomes automatically enforceable. The term is 30 days for parents who live outside Arizona.
As a parent who’s experiencing a serious change in your financial situation, you may feel overwhelmed. It is your responsibility, however, to keep the court aware of such a change. Communicating the change promptly could reduce your child support burden and give you access to additional resources that will alleviate the stress of taking care of your children.