The amount of child support that noncustodial parents in Arizona are required to pay may be modified if either their income or that of the custodial parent changes significantly. However, judges may be reluctant to order a modification unless they are convinced that the change in circumstances is likely to be permanent and warrants a child support modification of at least $50 per month or 15%, whichever is less. The first step in the modification process is completing a Request for Modification Review and submitting it to the Arizona Division of Child Support Services in Phoenix.
The Request for Modification Review is a packet of documents that includes a Modification Review Notice and supporting financial documents. Documents the parent requesting a child support modification must provide include:
- Two recent paystubs
- His or her last three federal income tax returns
- The most recent 1099 or W2 forms for all his or her sources of income
- Proof of his or her child daycare and insurance expenses
- Proof of the medical and dental premiums
- The birth certificates of his or her other children
The requesting parent must also serve the other parent with a copy of the Modification Review Notice. The individual who is served will then have 20 or 30 days to respond depending on whether he or she lives in or outside Arizona.
Conference and hearing
About six months after the necessary paperwork is submitted, both parties will receive a notice from the Family Court Conference Center ordering them to meet with a conference officer. During this meeting, the conference officer will review the case and encourage the parents to reach an agreement. If the parents do not reach an agreement, they are given an opportunity to make their case to a family law judge during an evidentiary hearing that lasts about 45 minutes. The judge will make a decision at the end of this hearing.
Legal help with child support modifications
While the child support modification process is fairly straightforward in Arizona, dealing with process servers and appearing before a judge can be intimidating to those unfamiliar with legal proceedings. If you plan to seek a child support modification, a family law attorney with experience in these matters could help you complete the necessary paperwork, ensure that the other parent is served in a timely manner and advocate on your behalf during the evidentiary hearing.