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Under Arizona law, a court can modify divorce decree’s child support award when a change in circumstances occurs. This change could be caused by a drop in a parent’s income or some other financial problem.

Qualifying for modification of the child support order

You can qualify for a child support modification order when the amount of the change is over 15% higher or lower than an existing support order. To qualify, you must show evidence of changed circumstances. Those factors might include changes in employment, loss of a job, disability or health issues, or any other change in financial outlook – whether good or bad.

The changed economic circumstances must have happened after the earlier child support order was issued and must be expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

It’s up to the court to determine whether that change in circumstances is significant enough to warrant a new court order for modification of child support.

Wealthy new spouse?

The court also considers the amount of money required to support each child monthly. However, the earnings of a parent’s new spouse are not supposed to affect the child support obligations of the previous spouse. If a new spouse happens to earn more or less money than the previous spouse, the court is not allowed to shift the financial obligation from one to another.

Good reasons to modify child support

A child support modification may be necessary to fix an incorrect calculation from an earlier court order. Arizona courts have held that the “changed circumstances” required for modification may be a result of an error within the court’s original support order. Errors are common in reported income and asset figures. Once the dust settles after a divorce, these financial discrepancies become obvious and must be corrected.

To modify child support, you’ll need to produce clear evidence that the original support amount was incorrectly calculated or reported, whether by a parent or by a court clerk. An experienced legal document preparer can help you prepare the documents you’ll need.

How to modify your child support order in AZ

The “standard procedure” method can be used when either parent or the supervising state agency can show that a substantial, ongoing change has occurred since the previous child support order was given. After the standard petition is filed, the court schedules a hearing.

The “simplified procedure” method is used when the amount of support would be increased or decreased by 15% over or under the current amount. So, if you have a properly prepared document showing that the amount would change by at least 15%, that evidence alone may be enough to convince the court to order a modification.

Arizona child support documents

If you’re exploring a change in the amount of child support payments, AZ Diamond Documents staff can help. Contact our team of family legal document experts today!

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