It is not uncommon for a divorced parent’s affairs to change after a marriage has been dissolved, directly affecting his or her ability to provide child support as agreed upon in the divorce decree or child support agreement. People commonly think of child support as merely providing economic support for children, however, it requires more than this.
A child support order is a written mandate from the court indicating which parent must pay child support, the amount of the payment, how often this amount must be paid, and who receives this payment on behalf of the minor child or children. If a parent petitions for it, the court may order child support when a married couple is undergoing a divorce, unmarried parents are separating or breaking up, or unmarried parents who have never lived together request support for the child or children. Under Arizona law, if a parent is unmarried, paternity must first be established before child support may be ordered by the court.
Requesting a Change
In the state of Arizona, a parent can apply for a modification of this agreement on the grounds that the change is substantial and continuing. Matters that can be encompassed within this definition include:
- Modifying child medical expenses
- Altering child care costs
- Changing school costs
- Employment change
- Income adjustment, whether increase or decrease
- Change in parenting schedules
Arizona law mandates that the request for a modification of a child support agreement be filed along with a completed Parent’s Worksheet for Child Support. In addition, documentation must be included providing proof that a change in earnings actually occurred if this is the reason for the request.
State law requires that parents – both custodial and non-custodial – provide reasonable support for their minor children. In order to ensure that parents meet their obligations and prioritize their offspring, Arizona courts use the “best interest of the child” standard throughout the entire process of a divorce proceeding. Court will give a parent’s child support obligation priority over other financial obligations owed by the parent.
Like many other states across the nation, Arizona family court judges use guidelines to determine the amount of child support a parent is obligated to pay. Titled the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, they approximate the amount of money a parent would spend on each child if they remained living together. The purpose behind the guidelines is to provide consistent standards of support – to keep the children’s lives status quo – post divorce within a reasonable financial plan consistent with the parents’ ability to pay.
Child Support Attorney in Tempe
If you or someone you know in Arizona has questions about child support – or is facing any other family law issue – contact the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack, in Phoenix, today. Serving clients in and around Maricopa and Pinal Counties, our firm can guide you every step of the way. Contact to schedule your initial consultation, call 480-345-2652.