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Should You Modify Your Child Support Obligation?

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.

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