Many clients have concerns about when they can request the modification of an Arizona child support order. There are many different reasons that a modification may be appropriate. Life happens, and when a big change impacts you, it is natural to be concerned about whether or not you can change a child support order so as to accommodate the new issues in your life. This is a very important time to consider touching base with your Arizona family lawyer so that you can start the process of altering a child support order immediately, if possible.

There are several different circumstances that meet this requirement, but you must be able to demonstrate that your life circumstances are continuing and substantial. This could mean many different things but usually applies to one of the following situations:

  • Disability
  • Job loss
  • Increase in income of the other party
  • Decrease in income
  • Birth of a child
  • Incarceration
  • Alterations in health insurance coverage availability
  • Addition of health insurance coverage

A parent in any of these situations should consider modifying his or her Arizona child support order by petitioning the court. Courts like to see that the parent requesting this modification will have a change in his or her life that will impact them for several months or more. In terms of unemployment, the newly unemployed parent should be able to show the efforts they have made to find a new position since losing their old one.  Consequently, it may not be appropriate to request modification immediately upon learning of a job loss.

What About Parenting Time?

If you have recently received an order for legal decision-making (formerly known as “custody”) and parenting time as part of your divorce, then you will need to wait one year before petitioning to modify parenting time except in circumstances where a child’s safety may be at risk and certain other exceptions. This is one of the most common questions asked by parents who are also asking about modification of child support amounts. To handle both of these issues, you should work with an Arizona family attorney who has experience in this field.

Having someone else who is knowledgeable about what is required to modify your current orders can help tremendously. Having the paperwork completed efficiently and properly on its own can give you peace of mind, particularly if there are extenuating circumstances in your life that make it difficult or impossible for you to keep up with the child support order you already have.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Modification of an Arizona Child Support Order, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.