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Child support, spousal support (also called alimony or palimony) and child custody orders can be very difficult to enforce and modify. Each modification or enforcement has to meet certain legal standards.
Existing terms no longer work for you
Visitation schedule needs altering
One parent becomes more or less fit to provide care for a child.
It becomes clear there is something missing from the original agreement

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I modify a child custody order?

For instance, to modify a custody order concerning children who are still under the age of 18, the party moving to modify has to show a “change of circumstances.” The change of circumstances is not easy to establish in some cases. There are cases that say the mere passage of time does not, by itself, justify a custody modification. Parenting time can be modified based on other factors, and even a consultation with a lawyer can help you decide whether your case is ready to proceed.

How do I modify child support orders?

Because a change of child custody can also mean a change of child support, the modification of child custody can put particular pressure when you file court papers. Court paperwork has to show why your parenting time should be changed in the actual filing. Child support increases are usually based on changes in parenting time or changes in income. Enforcing child support requires a specific set of court papers. First, a hearing will have to be held, usually about 30-60 days after filing the court paperwork for child support, to determine whether the paying parent has met their legal obligation. Only then can the court assign a deadline to pay the full outstanding amount.

We have a non-modifiable spousal maintenance order and payments cannot be made. What happens next?

What if you have a court order for spousal maintenance? If you are supposed to pay or receive spousal support, this is another technical area. Your divorce decree should say whether your spousal maintenance obligation is non-modifiable. If it is non-modifiable, but the paying party is not paying in full or on time, or you believe it should be reduced, then the only way to change court orders is to have a judge make new orders or to agree out of court.

I want to take a different job. How will that affect my spousal maintenance payment?

If you are the paying party and you have taken a job that will earn you less income than you are capable of earning, then you could be stuck paying a higher amount of support than you can afford. But, there is case law that says that you are allowed to work at a second job and not be penalized. For instance, if you a teacher, but you work nights and weekends at Home Depot (which means you are also probably a superhero) you are only going to be “charged” for the teacher salary for purposes of computing child support or spousal maintenance.

We have a short term marriage and we each earn the same amount. Can one of us expect to receive spousal maintenance?

The spousal maintenance factors are set up to allow for spousal maintenance payments in only specific circumstances. If, for instance, you have a young or ill child, or a long-term marriage, or your age or employability make you unable to be self-sufficient, Arizona law may entitle you to a support order. But there are other factors for the court to consider in awarding support, and an attorney should talk to you about Arizona courts and spousal maintenance.

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Peaceful Family Law was founded in 2009 with a desire to ensure the institution of family was preserved in times of conflict. Jennifer Moshier was one of the first trained collaborative law attorneys in Arizona.

We want our clients to stay in control of their family court outcomes and be involved in making a peaceful transition in to the next chapters of their lives.