When parents separate, monthly child support payments are often essential for ensuring that shared children continue to receive the financial support they need to grow and thrive.
Arizona state law tries to determine a fair and reasonable support payment scheme based on both the needs of children and the financial resources of each parent. However, the amount of support paid is not set in stone. When life brings significant change, parents may petition the court to review and modify the original support order.
1. When does the law allow for support modification?
Every three years the Department of Child Support Services should notify parents with a standing support order of their right to request a recalculation of support payments. If the department finds that the current support order significantly deviates from state guidelines and the court approves the petition, support payments may increase or decrease.
2. What if parents need to change a support order sooner?
If it has been less than three years since the original order or latest review, either parent may petition the court for an earlier modification.
A successful petition must show a substantial and ongoing change in either a parent’s ability to pay support or a child’s current support needs. In general, the court considers a deviation of 15% or more from state guidelines to be evidence of substantial change.
3. When do support modifications go into effect?
If parents are timely about providing financial information to the courts, it may take around six months to complete the review and modification process. That makes it important that a parent facing financial challenges pursue needed payment changes promptly.