After my divorce was final, my ex got full custody of my children despite the fact that I was the primary caregiver. Now, she also receives the majority portion of my income in child support.
Can I get a modification of this custody arrangement to 50/50 parenting time, and what are the grounds I have to stand on?
In order for a court in Arizona to consider a modification of parenting time and child support, there must be a continuing change of circumstances.
Specifically, courts look at the “best interest factors” in evaluating those circumstances.
It sounds like you had a positive relationship with your children and if you are successful in modifying for increased parenting time, those relationships will only flourish. One factor that the court considers (of many) is the wishes of the children.
In Arizona, the courts will only consider them if the children are of suitable age and maturity. Have your children expressed they want to see you more often? Do you see them more than your current parenting schedule allows?
Another factor that would be considered is the “past, present and potential future relationship” of the parents with the children.
You had a great relationship with your children, but it sounds like your parenting time has been greatly diminished as a result of the limited parenting time. Generally, the more children get to see each parent, the better the relationship with each parent.
For the child support modification, Arizona courts have child support guidelines that they must use. Factors the courts consider include the income of the parties, if either parent has other children, insurance costs and, of course, the parenting time schedule.
When a parent has limited parenting time like you do, the mother would be considered the primary residential parent. This would shift the child support amount towards her. It would be wise to seek advice from a local attorney to see whether you would qualify for a child support modification.
In all modifications, the courts have a variety of factors to consider.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”