One of the messiest parts of a divorce is how the children will be cared for. It seems that neither parent is ever satisfied with the custodial arrangement and child support payments can also make both parties extremely irate. What can make matters worse is that the needs of the children may change over time. Kids grow up, have different needs, and that can mean that the parent paying child support may be forced into paying more money. That can make for some ugly court battles.
It’s not just about the needs of the children either. There can be a change in life for either one of the parents where the parent who is paying child support no longer has the same income or the parent receiving child support has a reduced income, which would necessitate to change the support in some way.
Whenever you are looking to modify your current child support agreement, you should consult with a family law attorney. To get in contact with the JacksonWhite Family law team, give us a call at (480) 467-4348 or fill out a form online.
Arizona Has Simplified the Process of Modifying Child Support Agreements
Establishing the amount of child support paid in the first place was probably a rather protracted and aggravating process to begin with. Maybe it left you quite frustrated feeling that no matter what you said, the judge just didn’t listen to you.
This is how many parents feel, but they find themselves in a situation where they need to have an adjustment in child support, but just don’t want to go to the hassle of a protracted court battle. This is why Arizona has created a form to help change the child support using what they refer to as the “Simplified Process.”
The Arizona simplified process packet contains all the forms needed to seek a change in child support. This includes a very detailed and easy-to-read set of instructions that make filling out the forms easy. On top of that, there are not 50 forms but a small number of forms contained within the packet that make the process very easy to follow. In fact, you are even able to download them off of the Internet to get the forms and instructions you need, and they are available in both English and Spanish.
When to Use the Simplified Process Packet
While this is intended to simplify the process greatly, you should be aware that the use of these forms is only allowed in certain situations. You are not allowed to choose to use them for every need related to child support adjustment. Instead, you can use the Simplified Process for the following situations:
- There is a child support order already posted in a county courthouse in Arizona, and you think that there is a need to change the amount, AND,
- The Parent’s Worksheet and Child Support form has been completed and the value shown in Item 35 is different than the current amount you are receiving for child support by an amount that is at least 15% different, OR,
- There is a need to change the assignment of who is responsible for the cost of medical insurance. A modification of this type does not need to vary by the 15% in Item 35. This is most often used when there is a dramatic change in income for one or both of the parents, OR,
- There is a change in the number of children in which support is required. For example, there were two children receiving support, but one is of age where support is no longer required.
Most often, this process is used when there is a change in income for one or both of the parents.
When Not to Use the Simplified Process Packet
It is pretty clear when the Simplified Process is to be used, however, there are those who still wind up attempting to use this form for other reasons. Just to be clear, here are the instances where you absolutely should NOT use this form.
- If you are looking to change the amount of spousal support (alimony) you are receiving.
- If the order for child support was written in a different county courthouse than the one you are seeking action in. You must return to the original county of jurisdiction, unless advised to do otherwise by your attorney.
- If the amount of change is not greater than 15%, you cannot use this process.
- If there is a change in living status for the child or children but the court order related to custodial rights has not changed. This most often happens when one or more children decide to live with the parent who does not have custodial rights. You should be aware that just because the children have decided to change the arrangement and there is an agreement between the two parents as to this arrangement does not remove the obligation the court determined. This must be presented to the judge for approval.
Consult an Attorney Before Applying for Modified Child Support
If you are considering seeking a change to the child support, you are able to fill out these forms all on your own following the instructions provided. However, it may be to your advantage to seek the advice of an attorney before deciding to proceed.
This process is intended to help simplify changes in child support, but that does not mean you are precluded from seeking support should there be some other circumstances that do not meet the use of this process. Another reason you should seek the advice of an attorney is if you are feeling like the amount of support that is paid or received is inadequate or excessive.
JacksonWhite has years of experience in dealing with such custodial matters, and can advise you on what process will work best for you.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.