After divorce or separation, several paths become available to each party, including building a new family. While not everyone takes this road, those who do may welcome a new child later on. Reasonably, some parents question whether this brings up complications in an existing child support order.
Subsequent children can trigger support modifications.
Before a parent can request child support modifications in Arizona, they must prove that there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, whether in a parent’s or child’s life. One of the circumstances that courts consider significant is the birth of a new child of either parent in a new relationship. This is because with an additional child, a parent’s expenses will likely increase, and the amount of the existing support order may no longer be attainable.
What counts as substantial and continuing?
The weight of a change in circumstances is relative to each case. So, to set an objective standard, Arizona rules that if a parent’s income change brought about by the birth of a new child results in a 15% increase or decrease in the existing court order, then that change counts as substantial and continuing.
Does that mean the court will automatically reject any modification request with a support payment change below 15%? Not necessarily. The judge may still consider other available factors.
Will the court automatically approve the modifications?
The court will automatically approve the support order modifications if the circumstances of the case meet the guidelines set by the state and neither parent objects to the request.
Dealing with child support can be challenging, especially when encountering unfamiliar legal principles and complicated support calculations. One misstep can lead to adverse consequences for you and your child. Having an experienced attorney guide you through the process can help you take your next step to fair and established support terms.