Arizona takes a parent’s responsibility to support their child/ren very seriously. The statutes mandate that both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children, regardless of how involved they are in the child-rearing process. As such, child support orders are typically entered quickly in separation/divorce actions. This responsibility continues until the child emancipates, which is their 18th birthday, or if the child is still in high school, until they graduate or turn 18 years old. Obviously, the amount of support which should be paid will change over time, and a party should make sure that they are being paid/paying the appropriate amount.
The amount of support is determined through a calculation, in accordance with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. This calculation will include both parties’ level of income, the cost of medical insurance, the child custody arrangement, as well as support for other children, the number of children at issue, costs of day care and costs for special needs items. In most cases, these figures are clear and the calculation is cut and dry. However, often there are issues to be determined or argued regarding some of the amounts used in the calculation. For example, the court could attribute income to a party who is underemployed. This could radically change the amount ultimately ordered. Everyone should discuss these issues with a family law legal profession, such as those at the Schill Law Group, to make sure that the proper amount of support is ordered. .
A child support order will remain in effect until the emancipation of a child, unless someone requests a modification. There are only specific circumstances where a modification would be appropriate. Determining if the facts in your situation support a modification is where legal professionals like Schill Law Group can help.
Legal Grounds for a Child Support Modification
Parents may request a modification or termination of their child support orders “on a showing of changed circumstances that are substantial and continuing” A.R.S. § 25-327. This does not mean that your child has become more expensive, but rather that some of the figures in the calculation have changed and would result in a different figure.
There are some circumstances which will automatically be accepted as a change in circumstances. This includes things such as emancipation of the minor child, birth of another child you provide support for, increase or decrease in the cost of health insurance of the minor child, or the loss of health insurance.
Otherwise, the Court generally believes that a substantial and continuing change is one which results in a greater than 15% change in the obligation. This could be either and increase or decrease. This could result because of a change in the visitation, incomes, cost of the day care, or the like.
There will also be an adjustment to the child support when a child reaches the age of 12, so that should be kept in mine as well. Often times orders will require parties to exchange financial information every year or two, and it is good to get advise/representation on what should be provided and what the new figures mean for the obligation.
Also, keep in mind that if you are obligated to pay support, the reverse of some of these items may cause a reduction in your support. Often as children age, there day care costs reduce or even stop, which usually causes a large change in the obligation.
These are only a few of the most common basis for requesting a modification to child support. Talk to your legal professional for consul on other situations where you may be within your rights to a child support increase.
Arguing Your Case
No matter how “cut and dry” your case may seem to be, you should never count on the fact that you will be granted the increase your child needs on your own. Child support cases are sensitive in nature and it can be difficult to prove the basis which should be utilized.
As stated, no changes occur until after you file for it. This can result in several months before a matter is heard, and back support, or overpayments may result. In order to give yourself the best chance to win the case for your child, it’s important to seek help from a reputable and experienced civil family law attorney.
Schill Law Group is passionate about ensuring that you and your child’s needs are met – both now and in the future. If you believe you are legally entitled to a modification in child support, we’re here to help. Give us a call to learn more today.