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Modifying Your Child Support in Arizona

Many people who pay or receive child support end up having to go through some type of modification process. When child support is modified, this means the amount received or paid out will likely increase or decrease. A person paying child support who has a decrease in income will often ask for a modification to their child support payments. It’s important to remember, though, that child support modifications can’t be requested at all times. However, both parties, the one receiving the payments and the one making the payments, can put in modification requests if they meet certain criteria.

Always File Quickly

One of the keys to succeeding in a modification of child support is to file quickly. Even if you aren’t sure whether the case and criteria qualifies for a modification, you can still have ask for a modification review. If you fail to put in a modification request and you can’t afford your payments, the child support payments are still going to add up in arrearages every month. Even over a short period of time, these arrearages can turn into a substantial amount of debt that you can’t have dismissed. More so, interest will incur on the arrearages, further increasing your child support debt and making it harder to get caught up.

Another reason to file quickly is because if approved, the modification will begin from the date you filed. For those paying child support, you can save thousands of dollars by filing quickly and having the payments retroactively reduced fro the petition date. For those receiving child support, you can lose thousands of dollars if you fail to file a modification request quickly because the longer you wait, the more money you forfeit in the event the modification request is approved for a higher amount than what you are already receiving.

Remember the Retroactive Child Support Rule

Child support cannot be retroactively modified to a past date except for in two situations: retroactive modifications are permitted according to the date a Petition to Modify Child Support is filed, and in some cases, according to an initial child support award amount. The latter only applies to those who have never received a child support order. In this instance, the court will most times modify the award amount according to the date the partner stopped providing financial care to the child.

Know What You Have to Prove

To take the headache out of going through the child support process, it’s important to know what to expect; this applies to both parties. For those who are petitioning to receive child support payments, it’s pertinent to understand that you and the person you are petitioning will have to provide income information. This is because the amount awarded is determined by both parties’ income and expenses as well as the difference in those amounts.

For those who have received a petition for child support, you will have to provide income and employment information as well as payroll and banking information, if you have it, so that child support payments can be automatically deducted from your bank account or paycheck. Having the payments come directly out of your banking account or paycheck is helpful in ensuring you don’t get behind on payments.

In most cases when receiving an Affidavit of Financial Information, you will need to gather the following:

  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • W2s
  • Alternative forms of proof for any income deriving from self-employment

The process of modifying a child support in Arizona can be easy if you file the petition quickly and have all necessary information and documentation gathered and ready to submit. So, don’t wait.

What To Do About Child Support Garnishments

If you have children and get divorced, it is likely one of the parents will be ordered to pay child support to the other. Taking care of children during divorce is one of the Court’s greatest concerns, and if support payments are not made there are remedies for collection of past due amounts. One of the most popular ways to enforce a child support order is through a garnishment. If your wages are garnished in order to satisfy a child support obligation, the result can be financial hardship due to receiving a lower paycheck than normal. You may also have to appear in Court, and this can be costly as well. So, what do you do if your wages are being garnished for payment of a child support obligation? The first step is to consult with a skilled family law attorney, and learn how to get back on track.

Payment of child support is court ordered, and thus no further court action is generally taken for a wage garnishment when the support falls behind. Some of the ins and outs of child support garnishment include:

  • The amount that can be taken out of your check is limited, this means that you have the chance to question the amount withheld but also means that the past due amount will be paid off over a longer period of time. It is best to work out an agreement on past due child support rather than have your wages garnished, so you retain an element of control over your finances and budget.
  • The maximum amount that may be held out of your pay is a whopping 50%!
  • If your employer fails to respond to the garnishment, they can face fines for not responding. Thus, most employers promptly reply and hold money out of your paycheck. This means you cannot rely on your employer to “cut you a break”.

You must address the issue head on and reach a result quickly in order to avoid financial destruction. If you are behind on support payments, call our office for help. We will work with you to come up with a strategy that allows you to keep most of your disposable income in your pocket while also keeping up with your child support payments. In some cases this may require a request that the Court enter an order changing the amount of support awarded, and making this request requires a showing of changed circumstances. Common examples of how your circumstances may have changed include loss of job or a lower paying job. For more information, call our office.

 

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today. We have helped others through the process of divorce and are here to help you too.

Do We Really Need a Divorce?

If your relationship is over, divorce may seem like the next necessary step you need to take. There’s actually no requirement at all that you get a divorce or legal separation or do anything at all to change your legal status if you don’t want to.

If you and spouse end your relationship but don’t get a divorce, you can live separately and go on with your lives independently. While you remain married you can obtain custody, spousal support, and child support through the Arizona courts as long as you are living separately.

You will need to continue to file taxes as married and indicate ‘married’ as your legal status on legal forms. You can continue on each other’s health insurance. If one of you passes away, you are eligible for Social Security on that spouse’s behalf. You can continue as each other’s life insurance beneficiaries and health care proxies if you wish.

What are the downsides to remaining married when your relationship is over? You will need to continue to have contact with each for legal matters. If you remain married and unseparated, your marital property cannot be divided by a court. You can informally divide it yourselves, but there is no enforcement available and no way to stop your spouse from using or destroying marital assets. You will continue to be liable for each other’s debts. If one of you passes away, there is a spousal right to inheritance even if the spouse is written out of the will. Additionally, remaining legally married can create an emotional burden and connection that you may find you are not entirely comfortable with.

If you are weighing whether or not to get a divorce, you need to talk with an attorney who can explain all of the options, implications, and considerations. The Sampair Group is here to help you work through these choices. We represent clients in Maricopa County. Call us for an appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys now.

When Is It Possible To Change A Child Support Order?

Our lives are always in a constant state of change. A divorce definitely shakes things up and can bring many more changes that create havoc in your life. Many times, due to a change in your livelihood, fulfilling your obligations to child support orders can become difficult. While laws will vary by state, most courts will need a compelling reason to make a modification to your child support order.

While not always, but at times, it is possible to request a modification to the original child support order. This is no easy task, but situations in your life may meet the criteria for such a request. With support and proper direction, you may be successful.

It is important to remember that you need more than just a verbal agreement with the other parent if you decide to pay what is contrary in the written order. A future dispute with the other parent may prove to be an unfavorable outcome for you if there is no legal change to your support orders. Even if there is a new written agreement, be sure that you have the judge sign the agreement so the current order reflects the newly agreed upon amount.

Let’s take a brief look at the beginning process of modifying a child support order and what information you will need to tackle the challenge ahead.

  1. You may be able to request modifications to your child support order if your job has been lost or your financial situation has changed negatively. If you simply feel your child support order is unfair or unreasonable, you may seek a modification, as well.
  2. It will be necessary to file the appropriate paperwork with the desired modifications. In the event that changes are not agreed upon between the parents, you will have the opportunity to present your case to the judge.
  3. A modification to child support orders can be permanent or just temporary; this will depend on the circumstances surrounding the reason for the request.

Child support obligations can be financially taxing, and you have the right to request a modification if your finances change. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice and guidance to ensure you take the appropriate course of action. There are many lawyers who specialize in custody cases, and most of them have an extensive amount of knowledge relating to child support orders. You can speak with one of these lawyers to see if you have a favorable case to present to a judge.

Three Things To Pay Attention To During Divorce

The decision to get divorced is followed by the need to make several other decisions. The divorcing couple will need to figure out who will have primary custody of the children or whether the kids will split their time equally between mom and dad, which bills are paid by which party, how to divided marital property, and any other issue unique to the situation. In most cases these important issues are not resolved between the litigants, which is why the judicial system is needed. The Court bears the responsibility for making final orders on all of the things that arise during a case, and it is the job of each party’s attorney to advocate for what is in the best interests of their client. In order to make sure the final results in your case meet your needs it is crucial to fill your attorney in on all of the facts.

When discussing the issues in your divorce that require resolution, pay special attention to these three things:

  • Property division and how certain pieces of property are characterized. If there are some things you have your heart on keeping because they were gifts, a family heirloom, or something you owned prior to getting married you need to make sure that item is classified as your separate property. Generally speaking these types of things are yours to keep, and not subject to distribution by the Court. You may be required to show that a certain piece of property is your separate property and that it was not part of the marital estate in order to keep the item, and this could require a fact intensive inquiry into when and how you acquired the property. It may also be necessary to show that you have maintained the property separately and not commingled it with other things acquired jointly with your spouse.
  • Financial freedom is an important part of standing on your own two feet after divorce and for some cases this means spousal support is necessary for a period of time. If this is your situation it is essential that you make your needs known when developing a case strategy. Failure to resolve financial issues can leave you holding the bag for jointly acquired debts, or without the means needed for your daily expenses.
  • Child custody and visitation as well as how much child support should be paid must be addressed. If you have older children who are expressing a parental preference as far as where they live most of the time, the Court might take this information into consideration when deciding custody. If your kids are younger, you will have to be their voice and ask for an arrangement that makes the most sense for their well-being.

If you are able to articulate the issues that matter the most to you, your case will go much more smoothly. When meeting with an attorney, be sure to provide all of the information you have, so the lawyer has a complete picture of your needs.

For more information about what to expect during divorce, contact us for an appointment today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your initial visit.

Sharing Children’s Expenses After Divorce

Child support is ordered as a set amount, but most orders also include language about sharing children’s expenses, such as medical co-pays, school supplies, clothing, extra-curricular costs and equipment, music lessons, and more.

It can be difficult to keep track of these additional expenses if you are the parent seeking to be reimbursed. Follow these suggestions for staying organized.

  • Have bills sent directly to your ex. This is easiest to do with medical bills. This avoids the repayment problem and makes your ex legally responsible to the medical provider, keeping you out of it. The only problem is if you ex doesn’t pay, the provider may refuse to treat your child until the account is current. You may also be able to do this with extra-curricular fees or sports teams costs.
  • Get separate receipts. If you go to Target to buy school supplies as well as toilet paper and window cleaner, get a separate receipt for the items your ex needs to reimburse you for. It will make tracking expenses easier.
  • Scan in all receipts that need to go to your ex. Keep the originals. Send the scans with a cover letter showing the detailed breakdown of the expenses and the amount due to you.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of all expenses. Mark when you send them to your ex and when you are reimbursed. This will allow you to see at a glance what you have not been repaid for.
  • Get estimates when possible. When large costs are looming, such as braces or the cost of a new musical instrument, get an estimate of the cost in advance and send it to your ex. This allows him or her to plan and is a very courteous way to show you want to work cooperatively.
  • Consider using an app. There are now several apps specifically designed for co-parents that allows you to create entries and attach receipts. You and your ex use the app together and can track expenses this way.

Call the Sampair Group to discuss your child support case. We are located in Maricopa County, Arizona and are ready to work with you. Make an appointment today.

Additional Expenses and Child Support

Child support in Arizona is calculated using a formula that takes income and the number of children into consideration. There are additional adjustments that can be made to this amount before it is finalized.

The order must take into account how the parents share time with their child and reduce the amount of child support by the total number of days the non-custodial parent has the child within one year. This recognizes that when the child is with the non-custodial parent, that parent is meeting the child’s needs.

The order must include coverage for the child’s medical, dental, and vision coverage, which can be prorated based on the number of family members on the plan.

There are a number of additional expenses that child support orders may include and these include:

  • Childcare costs. The court will consider the federal child care tax for which the custodial parent is eligible. Childcare expenses must be reasonable in light of the parents’ financial situations (so, for example, a full-time nanny for parents who earn minimum wage would not be appropriate).
  • Education expenses. The court may include the reasonable and necessary costs of sending the child to public or private school, if the parents agree about the decision.
  • Extraordinary child costs. Children who are gifted or disabled often require additional services, and the court can add these costs to the order.
  • Older children. Arizona recognizes that older children usually require more expenditures as they become involved in extra-curricular activities, sports teams, and music education. Child support for children age 12 or older can be increased by 10% in response to these costs.
  • Travel expenses. If you and your ex live more than 100 miles apart, the cost of traveling to and from visitation or transfers can be added to child support.

The Sampair Group represents men and women in child support in Maricopa County. We understand how important having child support set correctly is for you and are committed to making the best case possible. Make an appointment with us today.

Four Reasons To Pay Child Support

When a couple gets divorced the result is often two households that need financial support. When children are involved it is customary for one parent to pay child support, so that the financial support that is needed to maintain the needs of the kids are met. But frequently, child support goes unpaid and the parties can find themselves back in court in an attempt to enforce the child support order. The well-being of your kids should be reason enough to pay child support, but in some cases a little more incentive is needed.

Any issue regarding children can easily become one of the most contested parts of a divorce case, but here are four good reasons to pay your child support as ordered:

  • Failing to pay could result in an action that lands you in jail for nonpayment. If you are having difficulty paying support now, think of how much more difficult it is from behind bars. If you are incarcerated you are not able to go to work, and this means that not only do your financial obligations to your kids suffer, but your entire budget takes a hit.
  • Failing to pay could result in loss of your driver’s license, which will leave you without the ability to get to where you need to go. The domino effect of the loss of the right to drive can be felt in every aspect of your life, but can be avoided simply by paying child support as it becomes due.
  • Failing to pay may result in a lien being placed on your home, which will not be removed until the back due amount is paid in full. A lien impedes your ability to refinance or to sell your home, which can hold up important real property transactions to which you are a party.
  • Wages and bank accounts can be seized or garnished if you do not pay your child support. This results in less of your paycheck in your pocket, which impacts your ability to effectively budget your salary.

If you are having trouble paying child support, the answer is to seek a modification of the order. Likewise, if support is not being paid to you as required, the proper course of action is to file a motion with the court. Whether you are seeking a modification or an enforcement of a child support order, we can help. Call our office for more information.

For more information about spousal support, contact us for an appointment today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your initial visit.

 

 

Child Support Myths

If child support is part of your divorce or family law case, you know that it is a complex financial ruling. It’s also often one of the most difficult parts of a case because emotions run high about child support. Because this is an emotional topic, there is a lot of misinformation about it. Learn the truth about these common child support myths.

  • Child support is supposed to cover all the costs of raising a child. Child support is one parent’s contribution. Both parents are expected to contribute to the financial costs of raising a child. Neither one alone is responsible for all expenses.
  • We can alter the child support ourselves. You and your ex can agree to anything, but nothing you do is enforceable unless it is in the form of a court order. You can agree to increase child support by $50 a week, but unless a court issues that in an order, you can never enforce it. And if you agree to reduce child support and you pay less, you can be held in violation of the order unless it is officially modified.
  • A parent with no visitation does not have to pay child support. In fact, spending time with your child can reduce the amount you owe, since the parenting plan is taken into consideration in calculating child support. A parent who has no contact with his or her child is still liable for child support.
  • Child support has to be used directly for the child’s expenses. Child support can be used by the receiving parent in any way he or she sees fit and there is no requirement that is be used specifically for the child alone.

There are many complex issues in divorce and family law cases. The Sampair Group is your choice in the Glendale, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale andPhoenix areas of Arizona when you need a firm that will listen carefully and advise wisely. Make an appointment for a consultation with one of our attorneys today.

Why You Should Be the One to File for Divorce

If you and your spouse are heading for a divorce, you may think it doesn’t really matter who files the papers. In actuality there is an advantage to the person who files for divorce.

  • If you are the one to file, you are the one in charge of exactly when it happens. You won’t be blindsided when you’re recovering from surgery, when your job is at a critical moment or when you are on vacation.
  • If you file for divorce you have time to plan. You can hire the attorney you want and take the steps to protect yourself financially that your attorney recommends.
  • You will be able to locate all of the financial records you need to prove the extent of your marital assets. If your spouse files first he or she may use the head start to remove or block your access.
  • Bank accounts and credit cards are at your disposable if you file. You can remove marital assets for safekeeping (if your attorney advises you to do so) or freeze joint credit cards and have individual accounts and cards ready to go.
  • When you file for divorce, you generally control the location of the divorce. Your attorney will be able to file in your home county. If your spouse has moved to another county, this prevents him or her from filing there where it is less convenient for you.
  • When you file, your attorney can seek temporary orders of custody, child support, spousal support and exclusive occupancy of the marital home. These are valuable not only in the short term but because judges tend to like to maintain the status quo and a temporary order is likely to become a permanent order.

Call the Sampair Group for your divorce or family law case in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Glendale. Our attorneys are ready to help you.