Should You Modify Your Child Support Obligation?

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Parties may jointly agree to modify child support by submitting a stipulation, signed by both parties and/or their respective counsel, to the Court.

To qualify for modification of your child support obligation, Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) §§ 25-327 and 25-503 requires a showing of changed circumstances that are considered both substantial and continuing. Typically, from a mathematical standpoint, if there is a fifteen percent (15%) change in the child support amount—whether it be an increase or decrease—then that generally meets the requirement of a change in circumstance.

Generally, events that trigger a potential modification, include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Loss/gain of employment;
  • Pay raise/decrease;
  • An additional child (or children) for whom either parent has a legal obligation of support;
  • Increase or decrease of investment income;
  • Increase, decrease, or termination of spousal maintenance payments;
  • Increase or decrease in parenting time;
  • Increase or decrease, or conclusion of childcare expenses;
  • Increase, decrease, or loss of health insurance premiums/coverage for the child(ren);
  • Additional source(s) of income; and
  • Change in age of the child(ren), including emancipation.

As with any modification, you should be ready to submit proof of the changed circumstances. Importantly, a modification of child support does not occur automatically. Any request for a modification of child support requires the filing of a petition, service of same on the other party, and ultimately, a decision by a judicial officer or an agreement between the parties. However, child support is not modified until the Court enters a new child support order.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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