Going through a marital break-up often involves resolving contentious issues, such as child support. After a divorce is settled, a family’s needs may evolve due to life transitions that make a child support order unworkable. While it is possible to seek modifications of a child support order, it takes a skilled family law attorney to protect your interests.
Cohen Family Law, conveniently located in Phoenix, provides first-class representation to clients throughout Arizona. We are well-versed in state law governing child support and the rules governing child support modifications. Our legal team can help you obtain or contest the modification, and also works with parties who are seeking to negotiate voluntary child support modification agreements. Above all, we will work closely with you to find a solution that is in the best interests of your child.
How Can I Modify a Child Support Order in Arizona?
Under Arizona law, either parent may ask the court to modify a child support order if there has been a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. Generally, a continuing change is one that is lasting, such as involuntary unemployment lasting several months.
A substantial change is one that would result in a child support order that varies 15 percent or more from an existing order. This does not mean that a 15 percent change is a requirement to file a child support modification, but rather that the court will find a change of 15 percent or greater significant enough to warrant a possible modification.
As you can see, determining the definition of substantial and continuing is complicated and confusing and often left to a judge’s discretion in applying the law. For this reason, you need to work with an attorney who understands the factors involved in determining child support and knows how to argue for or against a modification in court. When you consult with Cohen Family Law, we will assess your circumstances, explore your options, and guide you through the legal process.
How Cohen Family Law Can Help With Your Child Support Modification
Whether you have experienced a sudden loss of income due to an involuntary job loss or your child’s needs have changed, modifying a child support order is a complicated process. If you and your ex agree that your family’s needs have changed and a child support modification is in order, we can help negotiate and prepare a modification agreement. You should know that the court must approve any modification in child support to which you both have agreed.
If your ex does not agree to modify the child support amount, we can file a petition with the court on your behalf. We will work with you to prepare the necessary documentation, including financial statements and the Parents Worksheet for Child Support, demonstrating that there has been a compelling change in circumstances.
If you are seeking an increase in child support, a modification may be granted due to:
- Increased need for medical care
- Increase in the cost of after-school care or extracurricular activities
- Other special needs
In addition, we must also be able to prove that your ex has the ability to pay a higher amount. In addition, an increase in your ex’s income due to a promotion or career advancement may also entitle you to a child support modification.
For those who are seeking to decrease child support such support payments, any change of circumstances must be involuntary — an employment layoff or medical emergency, for example. If the person paying child support quits his or her job, however, the modification will likely be denied.
How do I contest a child support modification in Arizona?
If you wish to contest a child support modification, you must do so within the time provided under Arizona law. While the court is required to hold a hearing to review a request for modification, the court can also order a modification on its own without a hearing. In any event, the best way to protect your rights is to speak with our experienced family law attorneys. When you come to Cohen Family Law, you will find a supportive environment in which you can make the best decisions about your future.
Modifying Child Custody and Parenting Plans in Arizona
Child custody agreements and parenting plans established in a divorce settlement may also have to be reconsidered as children mature. Stability still remains important to the children, however, which is why courts are reluctant to modify child support orders absent a substantial change in circumstances. Ultimately, the court must find that modifying a custody or parenting time order is in the child’s best interest.
Changes in circumstances that may warrant such modifications include:
- Relocation of one or both parents
- Temporary or long-term disability of one parent
- One parent’s refusal to honor the parenting schedule
It is worth noting that a child custody or parenting time modification may also be a legal basis for requesting a child support modification.
At Cohen Family Law, we are dedicated to protecting your child’s interests and your parental rights. Founding attorney Mitchell E. Cohen has a well-earned reputation as a dedicated advocate who works tirelessly to help parents mediate child custody disputes. When necessary, however, our legal team is fully prepared to represent your interests in court. Whether through negotiation or litigation, we will make your case our cause and stand by you every step of the way.
Contact Our Experienced Arizona Child Support Modifications Lawyers
At Cohen Family Law, we are well aware that any issues involving children can be difficult to navigate during or after divorce. We leverage our skills and experience to establish and modify child support orders. If you have to request or contest a child custody or child support modification, we can help. Please contact our office today to schedule a consultation.