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How does one modify a child support order in Arizona?

Parents in Arizona know that many aspects of their lives change over time. This is also true for their children. These changes affect the children both emotionally and financially and parents have to adjust to best handle these changes. This is true whether the parents are still together or whether they are divorced.

When parents are divorced, in order to ensure that both parents contribute to the child's financial needs, generally one parent pays child support to the other. However, especially if the child support was ordered when the child was young, circumstances may change for the parents or the child. The child support order may no longer be a viable order.

Therefore, parents are allowed to seek a modification of a child support order. However, certain requirements must be met before a child support order can be modified. The parent seeking a modification must be able to prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

In general, a substantial change in circumstances means that there has been a change in the incomes of either parent that results in a 15 percent change in the current child support obligation, based on the child support guidelines. However, if the parents change who is responsible for health insurance for the children, that can also be a basis for modifying child support. There can also be changes in the children's needs, such as medical needs, that may constitute a substantial change in circumstances.

Many parents in Arizona are divorced and have children. Most of them probably have a child support order in place. These orders can be in place for many years, and over those years circumstances may change. If there has been a significant change in circumstances, the parents may be able to modify the child support order to reflect those changes. Modification of child support orders can be complicated, and experienced attorneys may be a useful guide.

Source: Superior Court of Maricopa County, "Arizona Child Support Guidelines" accessed on Feb. 16, 2016

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