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When might you request a modification of your child support order?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | Child Support, Family Law |

As your child grows and changes, chances are your household budget will grow and change, too. You may face fewer childcare costs as they enter school. They may join a new activity with regular fees. Their changing healthcare needs may require regular medication or more frequent care that adds to their medical costs. Your ability to provide for them may also change with career advances or with sudden setbacks like unemployment.

When you rely on support payments to provide for your child, these changes to your household budget may be a reason to request a modification of your support order. When might you ask a judge to modify the terms of this order?

Modifications generally reflect ongoing changes.

In general, Arizona courts require a significant change to your child’s needs, your financial circumstances or the financial circumstances of the child’s other parent to justify a modification to your support order. This can include a wide array of life changes, such as:

  • One parent losing their job
  • One parent receiving a promotion, a significant raise or a bonus
  • The paying parent is incarcerated
  • The cost of the child’s dental or medical care increases
  • The child’s educational costs change, as when they need additional support like a tutor or enter a private school
  • The amount of time each parent has with their child changes

Some of these changes may occur suddenly. For example, the onset of a chronic illness may lead to long-term increased medical costs. However, smaller changes can also add up, and these changes can become significant over time.

New Arizona Child Support Guidelines for 2022

Every four years, the Arizona Child Support Guidelines are completely revised. The most recent child support changes were implemented January 1, 2022. While some of these changes seem minor, others may have a significant impact on your support arrangement.

One example of such a change is related to spousal support. Previously, if a parent was paying spousal support to a spouse from a different marriage, that would be taken into account when determining their child support payment. As of 2022, spousal support from previous relationships will no longer affect child support payments. This change could increase payment amounts for parents who have several spousal support arrangements with former partners.

The new Arizona Child Support Guidelines do not necessarily apply retroactively. If some time has passed since the court issued your child support order or your financial situation has changed, you may want to pursue a modification to ensure your child is receiving the support they need to thrive. These modifications can help you adjust your child support arrangement to reflect you and your child’s needs as they are today.