Various factors are used to determine the amount of child support one parent will pay to the other in the aftermath of a divorce. The number of kids, their ages and the incomes of the two former spouses are just a few of the key considerations.
In Arizona, child support isn't fixed. It can be modified over time whenever serious changes occur in the living conditions of one parent or the other.
Most of the rules and regulations are clear and easy to understand. Back child support payments, however, are the cause of some confusion. Is it even possible to receive modified back child support (retroactive) payments in Arizona?
Arizona Regulations and Retroactive Child Support Payments
In Arizona, child support cannot be modified retroactively. This means that when a change is requested and it gets approved, the modification becomes effective on the date when the court introduces the new terms and conditions.
Depending on the circumstances, the court can order for the modified child support payment to become effective at a later date that's deemed appropriate by both former spouses. Retroactivity, however, isn't envisioned in local laws.
Retroactive child support refers to getting an increase or a decrease in the amount that becomes effective at an earlier date and impacts payments that have already been made. This is why parents should not wait to request a modification in the existing child support arrangement. If they are late, they will not get financial coverage for the losses incurred over the delay period.
The Difference between Past Due and Retroactive Child Support
Some people don't make a difference between past due and retroactive child support. Because the two terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably, some Arizona parents could have wrong expectations in terms of getting a child support modification.
Past due payments start to accumulate whenever one of the parents refuses to provide the court-mandated child support. The child support amount is already fixed in an Arizona court. The custodial parent, however, is not getting the amount that they need to raise the kids.
Retroactive child support refers to back payments that can be modified to increase or decrease on the basis of current circumstances. Such retroactive payments are not legal in Arizona and they could not take place.
If past due child support is owed, however, the custodial parent can turn to the court and initiate action against their former spouse. Depending on the amount that has not been paid and the specific conditions, the court may order the payment and sanctions or additional fines. These sanctions include fines ordered by the court, attorney fees and additional reimbursements.
In states where retroactive child support is legal, the parent seeking the modification will have to turn to court with a written request. The petition should list reasons why retroactive child support is being sought (hidden income on behalf of one parent, other concealed finances, unmet financial needs of the child or intentional avoidance of support).
If there is enough evidence, the court may decide to modify back payments and ask the parent to pay these amounts in full, regardless of the fact that they are retroactive.
Seek Legal Assistance
While getting retroactive child support isn't possible in Arizona, you should seek a change in the arrangement if you believe that the circumstances have changed substantially. The sooner you seek modification, the sooner your former spouse will have to start paying the new amount.
Seek legal assistance from an experienced Arizona family lawyer. Your lawyer will examine the factors that necessitate a change in your child support arrangement and represent you in court, ensuring the best possible outcome for you and your kids.