Arizona child support is based on specific criteria relating to income and the number of children in the household. In every child custody case, there will be a determination of support. Under the guidelines, support payments are in an amount calculated to meet the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance.
The Arizona Child Support Guidelines serve three fundamental purposes:
-- "Establish a standard of support for children consistent with reasonable needs of children andthe ability of parents to pay."
-- "Make child support orders consistent for persons in similar circumstances."
-- "Give parents and courts guidance in establishing child support orders and to promot settlements."
The amount of support is calculated by considering many factors, including the parents' gross incomes, extraordinary medical expenses, work-related daycare expenses, and the number of children residing in the home, among other things.
Under both federal and state law, one has the right to seek a modification of a child support order, regardless of any private agreement that states otherwise. Under Arizona law, "[a]ny order for child support may be modified or terminated on a showing of changed circumstance that is substantial and continuing . . . ." Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 25-503(E). The key words within the statute are "substantial and continuing." The most common circumstances that fall under the category of substantial and continuing include:
- The Loss of a Job
- A Change in the Availability of Health Insurance Coverage
- Adding Health Insurance Coverage
- Increases or Decreases in Income
- The Birth of a Child
Upon the occurrence of a substantial and continuing change of circumstances, one may petition to modify his or her Arizona child support obligations. Additionally, under Arizona law, a party may request may request the court to modify a child support order if application of the guidelines results in an order that varies 15% or more from the existing amount. A fifteen percent variation in the amount of the order will be considered evidence of substantial and continuing change of circumstances.
If you are faced with the need to modify a existing child support order, you will need an experienced Phoenix lawyer on your side. Please contact Lasiter & Jackson for a free consultation.