Inflation, Cost of Living, and Modifying Child Support Payments in Arizona
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When parents in Arizona divorce or separate, one of the crucial issues they must address is child support payments.
These payments are designed to ensure that the children receive the financial support needed from both parents, based on various factors, including the parent’s income, the number of children, and other expenses.
Over the last few years, inflation has been impacted by a variety of economic events, including global pandemics, rising fuel prices, and food shortages, which can have far-reaching consequences for child support payments.
Unfortunately, inflation can significantly impact child support payments over time, leading to missed payments or payments that are not enough to cover the child’s needs.
In this article, we’ll explore how economic events can affect inflation and the cost of living and how it affects child support payments in Arizona. We will also discuss what parents can do to ensure they can continue to provide for their children, the legal process for modifying child support payments, and how an experienced child support lawyer from Colburn Hintze Maletta can assist you in navigating these complex legal matters.
Some of the Key Economic Events that Can Impact Inflation and Cost of Living Adjustments in Arizona Include:
- Global pandemics, such as COVID-19, can disrupt supply chains, increase demand for certain goods, and result in rising prices.
- Rising fuel prices can increase transportation costs and impact the price of goods and services.
- Food shortages can result in rising food prices and impact the overall cost of living. Remember the eggs and dairy issue?
- Changes in government policies, such as changes to tax rates or monetary policy, can impact inflation and cost of living adjustments.
It is important for parents in Arizona to understand how these economic events can impact inflation and cost of living adjustments and take appropriate steps to ensure that child support payments continue to meet the needs of the child.
But there is hope! We understand that issues beyond your control can make it seem almost impossible to keep up with paying child support.
If you find yourself in a position where it’s hard to maintain your payment schedule, there are options to modify your support payment amounts.
How Do I Modify Child Support Payments?
Modifying child support payments in Arizona requires filing a petition with the court. The petition should outline the reasons why a modification of child support payments is necessary.
The court will consider whether there has been a significant change in circumstances since the last child support order was issued.
Examples of situations that may warrant a modification include:
- Changes in income
- Death or life-altering medical issue
- Job loss, or
- Increased living expenses.
If the court determines that a significant change in circumstances has occurred, it will consider the best interests of the child when deciding about modifying child support payments.
The court may consider factors such as the child’s financial needs, the parent’s financial resources, and the standard of living the child would have had if the parents had remained together.
5 Steps to Modify Child Support Orders:
- Gather evidence of a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, such as changes in income, employment, or medical expenses.
- Complete the necessary paperwork to request a modification of the child support order.
- Serve the other parent with a copy of the modification request and any supporting documents.
- Attend a court hearing to present evidence supporting the modification request.
- If the court approves the modification request, a new child support order will be issued, reflecting the changes in circumstances.
If a parent needs to modify child support payments outside of the automatic cost of living adjustment process, they must file a request with the court. The court will then review the request and determine whether to modify the child support order.
What is a Cost of Living Adjustment?
A cost of living adjustment (COLA) is an increase in wages or other benefits proportional to the rising cost of living.
This adjustment is used to maintain the purchasing power of employees throughout the state, as inflation or other economic factors can cause prices to rise and make it more difficult for workers to afford basic necessities.
In Arizona, the COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), which is calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The CPI-U measures the changes in prices of goods and services purchased by urban consumers, including food, housing, transportation, and medical care.
COLAs are typically calculated annually by measuring changes in a specific area’s cost of living index. In addition, these adjustments may also be made if an employee’s salary falls significantly behind market rates for their occupation.
By making these adjustments, employers should ensure that their employees have access to a livable wage and can keep up with the rising costs of living in Arizona. However, that isn’t always the case.
What if the Paying Parent Cannot Afford the Increase?
A few options are available if the paying parent cannot afford the increase in child support payments.
- The first step is to get in touch with a child support lawyer from CHM Law. Our attorneys will work hard to fight for you and contact the state’s child support enforcement agency to see if they can provide assistance. The agency may offer a payment plan or other solutions to help make the payments more manageable.
- Another option, as difficult as it may be, is to reduce expenses to save more money for the payments. This could mean cutting back on unnecessary expenses or saving money.
Finally, it might be possible to negotiate a lower payment amount with the receiving parent to reach an agreement that works for both parties.
Regardless of the chosen option, all parties involved must understand that it is best for everyone if both parents contribute financially to their children’s care.
Can You Modify Child Support Without a Lawyer?
It is possible to adjust child support without a lawyer. However, having an attorney on your side when making any changes is highly recommended, as the process can be complicated and time-consuming.
Anything that is filed incorrectly can result in your modification being denied by the courts.
Our attorneys have decades of combined experience in helping numerous clients with child modification, so why risk it?
If you were to do it on your own, the first step would be to submit a petition in the county where the original order was established. This must include information on why you request a change and supporting evidence such as income and all expenses. Be assured that the courts can comb through your finances with magnifying glass and look for any discrepancies.
After that, both parents will need to attend a hearing before a judge reviewing all the documents presented and deciding whether or not the modification should be granted. This is not always the easiest topic to bring up with your ex-spouse receiving the payments.
Throughout this process, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities under Arizona law and thoroughly prepare for the hearing.
Let Our Family Law Attorneys Handle the Process of Changing Child Support
Here at Colburn Hintze Maletta, our experienced family law attorneys can help you navigate the complex process of modifying child support.
We understand that circumstances can change and that parents may need to modify their current arrangements.
If you’re struggling with child support payments in Arizona, our entire legal staff is here to help. We will guide you through the legal system and advocate for your interests, helping to ensure that your children are provided for in the best possible way.
We have extensive experience working with individuals throughout this process, providing personalized attention and a commitment to you.
Give us a call at (602) 825-2500. We understand the challenges of parenting and want to make sure that you receive the guidance and resources you need to succeed.
With our help, you can be confident that any modifications to your existing arrangement will be handled with care and attention to detail.
Attorney Darin Colburn has experienced first-hand just how difficult going through a family law matter such as divorce is when his parents divorced when he was 6 years old. Twenty years later, he has devoted his entire legal career to helping those facing similar issues. Darin attended the University of Arizona and graduated Cum Laude from the Eller College of Management. Darin is an experienced trial attorney that excels in high-net-worth divorce, complex business valuations, and messy child custody disputes.
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