Child support orders are enforced in Arizona to ensure that children of divorced or separated parents get the necessary resources that they need to survive and become who they want to be. However, circumstances may change, forcing the paying parent to want a modification. If the reason is compelling enough, a judge may consider a change in the original terms.
Qualifying for child support modification
There are certain circumstances that may warrant a change in the child support agreement. The modification must be in the best interest of the child, and one of the following must have occurred:
- The paying parent has lost their job or had their hours reduced significantly
- The paying parent has become disabled and is unable to work
- The needs of the child have changed (i.e., they now require special medical care)
- The receiving parent has remarried or is cohabitating with another adult, which has increased their income significantly
Regardless of your reason, it is important to note that you cannot simply stop making payments because you want to or because you can no longer afford them. You must go through the proper channels to make any changes; if you do not, you could face legal repercussions.
How to request child support modification
If you believe you qualify for a child support modification, the first step is filing a petition with the court. You can do this with or without the help of an attorney. Once the petition has been filed, both parents will need to attend a hearing where a judge will determine if there is enough reason to modify the support agreement. If so, they will set new terms and a new payment schedule.
During this process, proper preparation is vital. This means having all of the necessary documentation to prove your case. This could include pay stubs, medical records, or anything else that may be relevant to your situation. Also, it helps to be honest and upfront about what has changed and why you believe a modification is necessary. The judge will take all of this into consideration when making their decision, so it is crucial that you present your best argument.