Child support payments are an essential part of providing for Arizona children after divorce. As a non-custodial parent, you probably began making child support payments during or soon after the finalization of your divorce. While these payments are essential for the overall stability of your child, your personal financial situation might have changed.
Life in Arizona is not static, and changes in employment can have huge financial implications that are not always for the better. Whether you've seen your working hours reduced, you switched jobs or you lost your employment, any of these things could impact your child support payments.
Can I stop making child support payments if my finances change?
It is usually not a good idea to quit making court-ordered payments, as this can have legal consequences and you will still be responsible for back child support payments. Doing so can also compromise your child's financial situation, which virtually no parent wants.
Modifying a child support order is a better approach after your finances have undergone a significant change. Doing so can lead to reduced monthly payments that more accurately reflect your current situation. This allows you to continue financially supporting your child without sending yourself into unnecessary debt.
How do I have my child support order modified?
Having a child support order modified begins with a petition made to the court. Modifications can take time, so this should be done as soon as possible after the event that caused financial changes in your life.
The court will determine whether you have experienced substantial changes in finances or circumstances, and may consider any of the following:
- An increase in cost of living expenses
- Loss of employment, fewer work hours or a new job
- A disability is suffered by a parent
- Any other significant life change that impacts a parent's ability to pay child support payments
What if my ex disagrees with the modification?
Since child support is determined by Arizona family law courts, your ex-spouse's opinion on the matter is not entirely relevant. He or she may also petition the court for a modification if under the impression that you are paying too little, but you will not be ordered to pay anything more than what you can afford. Since child support can be a confusing and contentious matter, it is often best to approach modifications with the careful guidance of legal counsel experienced in family law matters.