By. Jessica M. Cotter, Esq.
Child support may be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change in the circumstances of either parent. Such a change must be due to circumstances that are not voluntary, such as an increase or decrease in health insurance cost, daycare costs or a change in parenting time that would result in an increase or decrease of at least 15% in the paying parent’s child support obligation. You should always speak with an experienced family law attorney to review and discuss such matters.
Change of income:
Father support obligation is $300.00 per month. Father loses his job due to layoffs and is unable obtain another job at the same income. Should this change in income result in his child support obligation being reduced to $200.00 per month we can see that this is a reduction of 33%. As this is a reduction greater than 15% , Father could Petition the family court to have his child support reduced.
Change of day care cost:
Mother’s support obligation is $500.00 per month. Father is paying the child care cost. When the child starts school the child care cost is reduced significantly and this would result in Mother’s child support obligation being reduced to $300.00 per month. Since his is a 40% change in the child support obligation Mother could file a petition with the family court to have her child support obligation reduced.
Change of health insurance cost:
Father’s child support obligation is $400.00 a month. Father was paying the health insurance cost for the minor children. Due to the soaring premium Father stopped paying the health insurance cost for the children. Mother then started paying the health insurance cost for the children resulting in Father’s obligation increasing to $600.00 per month. Since this is a 33% difference in the child support Mother would be able to Petition the court to have the child support increased.
The parents share equal parenting time with the children. Since the parents’ have approximately equal incomes, and approximately equal child care and health insurance costs, there is no child support ordered. Mother moves to far enough away from the children’s school to result in a change in the parenting plan, resulting in the children residing primarily with father. This would result in a child support obligation from Mother to Father in the amount of $150.00 per month. Since this is a 100% change in the support obligation, Father could Petition the family Court to modify the child support to receive $150.00 per month.
The above examples only involved change in one of the factors that the Court considers in calculating the child support. If more than one factor changes it can change the outcome. Everyone should have their child support reviewed by an attorney whenever there is a major life change or at least every two year. Child support cannot be retroactively modified. The modification can only take effect the first day of the month after a Petition to modify the child support is served.
Source: The Arizona Child support Guidelines June 1, 2011
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