Arizona law requires that non-custodial parents contribute to paying for the basic needs of their children. The family court will ordinarily look at the incomes of both the custodial and the non-custodial parent and data regarding the cost of supporting a child in order to determine the amount of child support payments. In a case in which the non-custodial parent does not pay the court-ordered child support repeatedly, that parent may face serious legal consequences.
However, it should be noted that in a lot of cases, the non-custodial parent does not default because that parent wishes to evade their legal obligations to the children but because that parent is genuinely unable to afford the child support amount that the court has ordered. In that situation the non-custodial parent can petition the court for a child support modification order.
Arizona authorities also conduct child support modification workshops to help non-custodial parents obtain modification of their child support orders. Typically, parents can initiate a child support modification order every three years, even if there is no substantial change in the parents’ circumstances.
The non-custodial parent can also petition the court for a child support modification if there has been a substantial change in their financial circumstances. There are various situations in which the non-custodial parent’s ability to continue to pay child support could have been compromised. These include disability, unemployment or imprisonment. The non-custodial parent needs to document the change in circumstances through pay stubs or other evidence of the loss of income.
Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security, “Child support modification workshops,” Accessed on Aug. 26, 2015