We are resilient!
The next few months, however, may be financially devastating to many. People may lose their jobs and businesses may close. What happens if you are court ordered to make payments for spousal maintenance or child support, or you rely on those payments to meet your needs? While federal and state governments are scrambling to pass legislation to assist those who are suffering because of the corona virus, at the time of writing this, there have been no changes made to Arizona laws regarding support child support. This means that if you are required by law to make payments or you are awarded payments, those requirements are still in effect unless a court changes them. However, you do have some options.
Child support: Any order for child support may be modified or terminated on a showing of changed circumstance that is substantial and continuing. If you lose your job you should first try to get agreement for a reduction from your ex. If that fails, then you can request the court to modify the child support. You can do this on your own by filing a simplified form. One of our attorneys can also help guide you through the process.
Spousal Maintenance (Alimony): Any spousal maintenance that was ordered by a judge after a hearing is automatically modifiable. This means that the judge can change it if there are changed circumstances that are substantial and continuing. It is likely that the loss of a job or closure of a business would qualify.
On the other hand, if you and your ex agreed on the support, as opposed to going to a hearing, you may have agreed on non-modifiable spousal maintenance. If so, current law is that this cannot be changed, regardless of what circumstances arise. However, if you agreed on modifiable spousal maintenance, modification is possible.
Again, check with your ex first to see if you can reach an agreement. If you do reach an agreement, it has to be documented and the Court must sign off on it for it to be effective.
This post is intended to highlight just certain portions of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. It is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice on your specific case. McCarthy Family Law is a family law firm; however please check with your personal family law attorney for advice specific to your case. Or you can contact our office to speak to one of our family law attorneys to discuss how these rules may impact your specific case.