Like in other states, child support orders in Arizona are not set in stone to the same degree as other court orders and agreements. Perhaps because the law recognizes that the needs of children, and the ability of each parent to meet those needs, can change over time, courts can re-visit child support orders under certain conditions, even if the order was originally agreed to by the child’s parents.
This does not mean that one can change child support on a whim or, for that matter, without the court’s permission. Whenever a parent wants to change his or her child support order, even with the agreement of the other parent, he or she will have to demonstrate that what is called a substantial and continuing change of circumstances has occurred. The parent will also need to demonstrate that a newly calculated order will actually be different than the order currently in force.
Whether there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances is probably a question best left to a lawyer who has experience both with family law and with the Maricopa County and Pinal County court systems. To give some examples, a promotion at work may be a substantial and continuing change, but a slow month in one’s business may not be.
The good news is that Arizona law gives parents a simplified formula for determining whether a change in child support is warranted. Specifically, if he or she can show that, when using our state’s guidelines, the amount of child support would change by more than 15 percent, then the court reviewing the matter will assume a change is warranted.