Child support can help pay for your kids’ food, shelter, medical care, entertainment, domestic and international travel, extracurricular activities, and educational costs. However, a child support agreement may need to be modified over time to better reflect the changing circumstances of families.
If you need to change a court order, you could benefit from contacting a Mesa child support modification lawyer to make legally binding changes to your current arrangement. One of our dedicated attorneys could help you file a petition to modify child support or argue in court on your behalf that a proposed modification is not warranted.
When to Modify Child Support
Child support in Mesa is calculated using a variety of factors, including the respective income of both parents, daycare and healthcare costs, and the amount of time the children are scheduled to spend with either parent according to their custody agreement. Under Arizona Revised Statutes §25-503(E), child support can be modified on the basis of a substantial change in a family’s circumstances.
A parent may be able to modify child support with the help of a Mesa attorney if they have experienced any of the following changes:
- Involuntary increase or decrease in income
- One parent has an additional child
- The child either graduates from high school or reaches the age of 19 and has not graduated
- The child support payor experiences changes that make it hard or impossible to meet their obligations
- The child’s needs change
While income plays a significant role in calculating child support in an original order, modifications based on changes in income can only occur if the change was involuntary. For example, one parent can’t simply quit their job as way to pay less or receive more child support. A court can impute income to a parent who attempts to evade their child support obligations by either working less or leaving the workforce.
Defining a Substantial Change in Circumstances
A substantial and continuing change in a family’s circumstances is a prerequisite for modifying child support. Local courts generally have great discretion when deciding whether a change in circumstances is significant enough to warrant any alterations to a family’s support order, but there is a general rule of thumb.
Any change to one of the determining factors that translates into a 15 percent increase or decrease in child support would be considered substantial enough to warrant a modification. Additionally, if a parent becomes unemployed for several months, a judge may decide that their change in circumstances is ongoing and issue a modification based on their projected financial standing.
You must make changes through the court. An agreement between parents to change child support is NOT binding and could result in a large debt that you can never discharge. The help and guidance of a child support modification lawyer in Mesa can be invaluable when convincing a judge that your circumstances warrant alterations to your current order, or that any proposed changes are unwarranted.
Schedule a Consultation with a Mesa Child Support Modification Attorney
Separated parents should expect their child support order to require modifications over time. A substantial and continuing change in circumstances is sufficient grounds for one parent to file a petition for modification. Contact a Mesa child support modification lawyer to learn more about this process as well as what your various legal options might be.