Answers to Your Questions About Modifying Court-Ordered Child Support

Arizona courts use a Child Support Guideline to assure stability for child support orders when they are first put in place by agreement of the parties or order of the court. However, when circumstances change after a child support order is in place which results in the need to modify child custody or spousal support, courts are willing to adjust payments to appropriate amounts

I Receive Too Little or No Child Support: What Can I Do?

Increasing your child support is possible when new circumstances warrant a change. These include:

  • An increase in medical costs for your child
  • Lost or lowered medical insurance
  • Your child has become disabled
  • You lost income or a job
  • Other changes in necessary child expenses, such as day care

If you have an adequate child support order, but simply are not receiving the appropriate payments on time or in full, there are ways to enforce the order. Order of Assignments (i.e. income withholding) can take child support payments directly from the paying parent's paycheck. Other enforcement methods after obtaining a child support judgment can include creating a lien on the delinquent parents 's property, garnishing bank accounts and obtaining court-ordered revocation of the paying parent's driver's license.

Can I Lower or End Child Support to Reflect Changed Circumstances?

Unemployment or other circumstances may render current child support payments unfeasible. If this occurs, a judge may order reduced payments to allow for the changed circumstances. However, until the court order is changed, the paying parent should continue to make child support payments on time, as any late payments can accrue interest and penalties.

How Long Does it Take? Who Should I Contact?

Taking on a modification on your own can be time consuming and cause a delay in the commencement of your requested modification while you familiarize yourself with the law and procedure on pursuing a modification. Therefore, if you need a modification you may be best served to consult a family law attorney. An experienced lawyer will know what documentation you need to show prove to the court a modification is appropriate. This could potentially shorten the amount of time the court needs to make a decision.