It costs about $233,610 to raise a child in the United States, according to a January 2017 article in CNN Money. A middle-class married couple raising two children born in 2015 will spend approximately $233,610 on each. This information comes in a report released by the Department of Agriculture in January. The amount covers the cost of raising a child from infancy to 17 years of age. It does not include college expenses. On average, families may spend anywhere from $12,350 to $14,000 a year to raise a child in the U.S. One of the biggest expenses in raising a child is housing; it takes up about 29% of the total cost of raising a child. The second biggest expense in the budget is food. The third largest expense on the list is child care. It costs parents an average $37,378 a year for someone to care for their child while they work. Children are least expensive to raise in their younger years. The exact cost varies by location and family income. For instance, lower-income parents spend an average of $174,690 to raise a child, while high-income parents pay about $372,210 to raise a child. Additional factors like the number of children in a family and the marital status of parents tend to lower the average cost of raising a child. For instance, having more than one child reduces the amount spent on each per year. Also, married couples with three children, according to the report, spent approximately 24% less on average per child than those with two children. The report did not include information about single parents and how child support may decrease the cost of raising a child. In Arizona, child support is the amount of money paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to help raise a child. A custodial parent is the parent the child lives with the majority of the time. Child support typically continues until the child reaches the age of 18. If the child is in high school at the time he or she reaches 18 years old, the financial obligation continues until they turn 19 years old. It can also continue if the is seeking a GED instead of a high school diploma when he or she turns 18. Child support is typically determined by a variety of factors, including the amount of time, number of children and their ages. The net income of both parents are taken into account when determining a child support order.

Child Support can be Modified in Arizona, but not Automatically

Child support is fluid. This means it can change at any time. When a parent seeks a modification, he or she seeks to increase or decrease the amount of child support he or she pays or receives. In Arizona, child support can always be modified when circumstances change. Timing is everything when filing a modification because the modification is not automatic. A parent can petition the court for a child support modification at any time. A parent can request a modification if:
  • It has been more than three years since the child support obligation was filed
  • No existing medical support provision is in the child support order and health insurance coverage is available at a reasonable cost
  • One or more of the children becomes emancipated
  • One parent has a significant change in income, such as a new job or a loss of a job.
  • The noncustodial parent is either released from jail or prison or becomes incarcerated
  • Parenting time changes
  • Custody changes
According to state child support law, many factors are considered when determining if the child support should be increased or decreased. A substantial and continuing change would decrease or increase the child support by 15% or more.

Arizona Prohibits Retroactive Child Support Modification

All child support modifications granted in the state becomes effective no later than the first day of the month after the petition is filed. It can become effective at a later date, too. In this circumstance, the later date becomes effective when there is a change in circumstances that warrants a modification after the petition is served. The term “served” means after the other parent receives the modification petition. Arizona law prohibits retroactive child support modification. Retroactive child support modification is obtaining an increase or decrease in child support that changes the prior amount owed. That is why parenting time and other changes must immediately trigger a child support modification request. For instance, let’s say that a parent’s scheduled time with his or her child changes. The parent now receives more time with the child. However, he or she waits to request the modification. The new child support payment takes effect after they file, not when the change in parenting time began. A lot of parents also do not realize that their child support obligation does not automatically stop when their child turns 18 years old. They must request that the child support be terminated.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Arizona About Modification Immediately

Child support is a fluid, ever-changing situation. A job loss or change in family household expenses can cause the need for an immediate decrease or increase of child support. Do not delay. A retroactive child support modification is not allowed in the state. Any modification granted will take effect on the first day of the following month. A change in parenting time is only one situation in which a modification is needed. If your child is spending more time with you or you now have custody of your child, do not be too proud to seek a modification in your child support arrangement. You have the legal right to seek a modification. A review of the modification request can take up to six months for the court to complete. The process can go faster depending on how fast the needed information is given from both parties. To understand more about child support modifications, how to obtain one, or how to change your parenting time, contact Frisby Law today.