Q: I would like to know how and if there is a way to address current child support order.
I struggled to obtain a well paying job last year, I was let go once and I was out of a job for a few months, currently with COVID my income was affected. The first child support order was at $345 when I was consistently earning a decent income, but I no longer work there and my hours fluctuate, currently make between $1600-$1900 gross a month. I am ordered to pay $440 as of July 2020, By IWO $79 is taken for arrears and $129.00 For child support every week.
The new Child support order does not include my new child and I cannot afford my family’s necessities, what can I do?
Child support can be modified in Arizona at anytime upon a showing of substantial change in circumstances. This can be done by one of 2 methods, a simplified modification where you file, serve the other party and if they don't request a hearing the Court orders your modification. There is a bit of a caveat, that the change must equal at least 15%, either up or down.
The second way you can modify is with an OSC modification (order to show cause) where you have a hearing in front of a judge or commissioner to address these issues as well. Though the statute doesn't specifically state that it is required to show a 15% change to be a substantial change in circumstances, the reality is that many judges use that number as the touchstone for whether or not to approve a modification.
The child support calculators are available online, you can plug your numbers in and if it results in a change that you think is favorable, go a head and file.
There are also a lot of intricacies and nuances with this as well, and that is something that an attorney can help you navigate. Most attorneys will offer a free 30 minute consultation to talk about your needs.
A: Arizona currently uses the 2018 Arizona Child Support Calculator. This is available for your use online. Part of any child support calculation includes a "self-support" test. The legislature has set a certain amount (currently $1,400) as the amount you need to support yourself. If you do not have that much, you may not have to pay child support. To modify your child support, you are the party who needs to file a Petition to Modify (simplified procedure or regular) and the Petition must be filed and served. It is important to do it as soon as possible because child support, if modified by the Court, will be modified retroactive to the first day of the month after your file. If you need additional assistance, I recommend contacting an experienced family law attorney.
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