Family Law Modifications: How to Get the Changes You Need

I recently lost my job and would like to decrease my child support amount. How is this accomplished?

Under Arizona law, orders involving legal decision-making (child custody) parenting time, child support, or spousal support (spousal maintenance) may be modified by citing a “substantial and continuing ” change in circumstances. Of course, each area requires a different set of circumstances to modify, and the court will require a demonstration of actual difficulty or hardship as opposed to mere inconvenience.

In terms of child support, a court may increase or  decrease a monthly award if there has been a “substantial and continuing change of financial circumstances.  In general any change in circumstance that results in  a 15% change in the ultimate child support is considered “substantial”.

This is most often as a result of an increase or decrease in income for either parent, but may also be can be as a result of the ending of a spousal maintenance obligation, the birth of additional children, the ending of the need for daycare or a significant change in the cost of health insurance. 

The changing of a legal decision-making (custody) order or a parenting time order is generally harder and is based on the best interests of the children rather than a simple guideline calculation.  Therefore whether to grant the change or not is up to the discretion of the Judge and the outcome can be much less certain.

If you are considering a modification of child or spousal support or visitation in Arizona and would like to discuss your options, please contact Cohen Family Law today: 602-714-8898.