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UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS CAN I CHANGE MY CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS?

Many Arizona residents currently paying child support for one or more children are unaware that substantial changes in their lives may affect the amounts they receive or are required to pay. A common complaint from non-custodial parents is that the court-ordered amount of child support is simply too much to allow them make ends meet.

The good news is that both federal and state laws protect the rights of those parents to request a modification in their child support orders. Here in Arizona, the income of both parents is crucial in establishing the amount of child support payments. Generally speaking, in order to prevail in a petition to modify a child support order, a party should demonstrate that there is a substantial and continuing situation in his or her life that has led to a change of roughly 15 percent of the child support order.

A good example of this might be a construction worker ordered to pay child support six years ago. Since that time, the construction worker suffered a work-related injury that has diminished his or her ability to earn income. That worker may now be eligible to receive a child support modification order to reduce the payments.

Another common scenario occurs when a child switches residences from the custodial parent to the noncustodial parent’s home. The court may determine that the child support order should be modified to reflect the changes in financial needs between the two parents. In fairness, the parent keeping the child in his or her home should not be forced to pay the same amount of child support to the other parent.

If you are an Arizona resident seeking to modify your child support order, you should know that a well-prepared request for modification is a crucial step in adjusting your payments. A consultation with an experienced family law advocate can go a long way towards assisting you with your desired outcome.

Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security, “Modifying Your Existing Child Support Order Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” Sep. 25, 2014

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