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How a parent's disability may alter child support payments

A disability may create financial struggles for parents in Arizona who pay child support as well as those who receive it. If the income of the parent who pays support is reduced due to that parent's disability, both parents may end up in a more challenging financial situation, but a court attempts to balance a parent's income with the parent's obligation to support the child.

A parent who becomes disabled and whose income is affected may return to court to ask for a modification based on changed circumstances. If the parent simply continues to pay less, the court can garnish money going to the parent including disability insurance payments. The court will consider the type of disability and the parent's income in creating a new child support order. The order may also be either a temporary or permanent modification based on whether the disability is permanent.

Supplemental Security Income payments may be available to low-income disabled parents. These payments usually cannot be garnished for debts, including taxes. However, they may be garnished for unpaid child support. Parents seeking child support or struggling to pay support may seek assistance from an attorney.

In some cases, parents may only have an informal child support agreement in place. The value of a legally binding child support agreement is that the local office of child support enforcement can assist a parent if child support goes unpaid. A parent can go to court and get a child support order even if there was previously just an informal agreement. If parents have a legally binding custody and visitation agreement, a parent cannot change the agreement and deny the other parent access to the child in an attempt to compel that parent to pay child support.

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