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The criteria for modifying a support order

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2021 | Family Law

If you no longer live with your son or daughter’s other parent, it may be necessary to make monthly child support payments. The amount that you pay each month is generally determined by Arizona state guidelines and other factors that may be relevant in your case. A judge may agree to modify the terms of an existing support order.

Has either parent experienced a change in financial circumstances?

Let’s say that you lost your job recently and don’t expect to find another position in your field for several months. In such a scenario, a judge may agree to reduce the amount of financial support that you must provide for your child. Conversely, if your son or daughter’s other parent experiences a loss of income, you may be ordered to increase the amount of support that you provide. If your former partner receives a raise at work, a large bonus, or an inheritance, it may also be grounds for modifying a support order.

How long has it been since the order was issued?

In some cases, the passage of time may qualify as a change in circumstance. Often, a judge will agree to review a child support order that was issued more than two years before your request to modify it. As a general rule, courts recognize that a child’s needs can change drastically and that it’s important to ensure that those needs are met in a timely manner.

Has your child incurred a significant expense?

A child support order may be temporarily modified to ensure that there is enough money to pay a large medical or educational expense. For instance, you may be required to pitch in an extra $100 a month for a full year to help pay for emergency surgery or a tutor.

If a child support order is modified, the new terms generally go into effect immediately. However, it’s important to note that a judge typically cannot forgive any payments that were not made as required under a previous order.