Family law judges in Arizona weigh various factors when they determine how much noncustodial parents should pay each month to support their children. They consider the gross incomes of both parents, the custody arrangements in place and the child’s educational and medical expenses, and the figure they arrive at may be modified if one or more of these factors change significantly. If you are unable to make your court-ordered child support payments because you lost your job or are struggling with some other kind of financial hardship, you can ask the court to grant a child support modification.
Modifications can raise or lower payments
You should bear in mind that child support modifications can increase as well as lower a noncustodial parent’s monthly obligation. This means you could be ordered to pay more if your child’s custodial parent seeks a modification after you experience a financial windfall or receive a raise or promotion. Child support modifications are only granted in Arizona if the changes circumstances would raise or lower the monthly payment by at least $50 per month or 15%, whichever is less.
The child support modification process usually takes about six months in Arizona. The first step you will be asked to take is filling out the necessary paperwork. In addition to a Request for Modification Review form, you will be expected to complete and return:
• A Modification Review Notice
• An Affidavit of Financial Information
• An Agreement to Accept Service by Mail
• A Modification Checklist
All of these forms can be downloaded from the Arizona Department of Economic Security website. When you have completed the forms, you should mail the Modification Packet to the Division of Child Support Services in Phoenix, Arizona.
If you are unable to make your court-ordered child support payments and the change in your financial situation is likely to be permanent, you should seek a modification as soon as possible. Modifications are not granted retroactively, which means each day that you wait could cost you money.