You may feel as though you got the short end of the divorce if you pay child support, but only have a limited time to spend with the kids each week. Of course, you understand your obligation to support your children, but there is no question that the payments take a bite out of your budget. When unexpected expenses come up, you often sacrifice your own needs to ensure you can pay the full amount of your court order.
Despite your disappointment in the situation, you may accept your obligation. However, if a financial setback or other circumstances find you falling farther and farther behind on your debts and maybe still unable to make your child support payments, you may have cause to seek a modification of your support amount.
Reasons for requesting a modification
Your child support amount was likely based on a formula that involved your income, your spouse's income and other factors. Arizona courts understand that these factors may change over time, and you may be able to defend your claim that a temporary or permanent modification of your support amount is in order. You will need to demonstrate any of the following or other issues that affect your financial circumstances:
- You have lost your job or have suffered some other financial setback.
- Your ex is requesting additional support for new expenses, such as braces or extra-curricular activities.
- You have remarried or have had additional children for whom you must provide support.
- The other parent has experienced a substantial increase in finances, such as a promotion, raise or inheritance.
On the other hand, if the other parent learns that you have inherited a fortune or enjoyed a positive change in your finances, you may expect your former spouse to bring you before a judge to seek an increase in your support.
The point of child support payments is to allow your children to continue in the same standard of living they knew when you and their other parent were together or would experience if you lived together. If you are not the custodial parent, your support is financial while your former partner may provide more practical support.
However, if you cannot pay the support without creating an extreme hardship for yourself, the court may consider a modification to restore some financial balance between the households. The alternative may be to fall behind on your payments, and this can be a difficult hole out of which to climb.