October 26, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Parents have an obligation to support their children financially. When parents divorce, or when parents who were never married split up, one of the ways that a parent fulfills this obligation is by paying child support. In some cases, a parent's circumstances will change after the court enters a child support order and he or she will need to have the order modified. Arizona parents should be aware of what a child support modification is, when a parent may seek a modification and why a parent should use the court to modify child support.
When Can a Parent Seek Modification?
A petition for child support modification is a formal request to the court asking for a change in the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent pays. A parent may seek a modification when there has been a "substantial and continuing change" in either parent's circumstances that would result in at least a 15 percent change in the amount of child support a parent pays.
Some of the changes the court considers "substantial and continuing" include:
-An increase or decrease in a parent's wages, such as a job loss or a promotion
-Changes in health insurance coverage
-Changes in child custody
-An increase in child care costs
-An increase in care for special-needs children
-Unexpected medical or education expenses
-A parent's obligation to support other children
How Does a Parent Seek a Modification?
A parent may choose to use a standard or simplified process to modify child support. In the standard process, after a parent files a petition to modify child support, the court schedules a one-hour conference and a 45-minute hearing directly after the conference. The conference is an opportunity for parents to resolve the matter before the hearing. If the parents reach an agreement, the court will issue an order reflecting the parties' agreement. If they cannot resolve all of their issues, the court will hear evidence during the hearing and then make a decision, issuing an order immediately after the hearing.
In the simplified process, one parent serves the other parent with a modification petition and then waits for a response. If the parent receiving the petition is an Arizona resident, he or she has 20 days in which to request a hearing. If he or she is an out-of-state resident, the time increases to 30 days. If the parent receiving the petition does not request a hearing, the court will modify the child support order without a hearing. If he or she does request a hearing, then the process is the same as if a parent used the standard process.
Why Use the Court to Modify?
Some parents may question whether it is necessary to involve the court in modifying child support. Parents may believe that it is easier to work out an informal arrangement on their own and not bother going through the court. However, as long as the court order states that a person must pay child support in a given amount, he or she is legally responsible for paying that amount and could suffer legal and financial consequences for not paying in full.
Some of the penalties a person faces for not paying child support in Arizona include:
-Garnishment of wages, unemployment benefits, tax returns, lottery winnings or workers' compensation benefits
-Suspension of driver's, professional or recreational licenses
-Denial of a passport
-Liens on real and personal property
-Jail time for being in contempt of a court order
People with questions about modifying child support orders should talk to an experienced attorney for guidance about their specific situations.
Article provided by Thompson Law Firm
Visit us at http://www.phxinjurylaw.com---
Press release service and press release distribution provided by http://www.24-7pressrelease.com
# # #Read more Press Releases from FL Web Advantage: