FAMILY LAW FAQ
How does the court determine child support? •
How do I modify a child support order? • What
happens if my spouse doesn't pay his or her court-ordered child support?
1. How does the court
determine child support?
Child support will be ordered based on the parents’ proportionate income. The
Arizona Child Support Guidelines outline the following variables that are used
to calculate child support:
Each parent’s monthly gross income
Cost of supporting children not common to the parties
Spousal maintenance paid or received
Cost of child care and medical insurance for the children
Parenting time schedule
Age(s) of child(ren)
2. How do I modify a child support order?
Child support can be modified whenever there is a “substantial and continuing”
change in circumstances regarding any of the factors used to calculate child
support. For instance, changes in income, spousal maintenance, health insurance
coverage, age of the child(ren), or parenting time may warrant a modification of
There is a simplified procedure to modify child support through the Family Court
Conference Center. After a petition to modify is filed, you and the other parent
will attend a one-hour conference with a conference officer to try to reach an
agreement, which will become a court order that same day. If you cannot reach an
agreement, you will appear at an evidentiary hearing immediately following the
one-hour conference. The evidentiary hearing is limited to 45 minutes; the
Petitioner will need to present evidence to show that a substantial and
continuing change in circumstances has occurred. The judicial offer will enter a
child support order that same day.
3. What happens if my spouse doesn't pay his or her court-ordered child
Child support most likely will be deducted from your
spouse’s pay check. If your spouse is self-employed, the court may order that he
or she make payments directly to the Arizona Support Payment Clearinghouse
rather than through an Income Withholding Order. If your spouse becomes
delinquent on his her child support payments, you may seek a judgment for
arrearages (past due support payments) or, if you can show that your spouse
knowingly and willingly refused to make the payments, you may file a contempt
action in court. The court may impose penalties on the non-paying spouse, such
as garnishing the spouse’s wages and bank accounts, attaching liens on property
or seizing assets, suspending a professional license or ordering that the spouse
serve jail time.