Courts, Legal Basics

questions & answers

Question: Can a parent back date a child support modification?

Answer: I wouldn't count on it! The basic rule is that one may petition for modification of support "only on a showing of changed circumstances that are substantial and continuing *except* as to any amount that may have accrued as an arrearage before the date of the motion or order to show cause to modify or terminate." (A.R.S. § 25-327(A)) (emphasis added). In other words, if you're toying with the idea of modifying child support, you need to accept the reality that each month you wait to file your motion is one more month of indebtedness added to your tab that will almost certainly stick no matter what you file later down the road. Once you file the motion however, the "clock" stops, enabling the court to retroactively adjust support for any months that passed while you were waiting for your motion to be heard. If you decide to file the motion, make sure to *carefully* read Family Law Rule 91(A) and (B). There is a specific procedure that you must follow, and forms that you will have to attach.

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