Logo
Call Now(480)305-8300

Modifying Child Custody and Support in Arizona | Voted “Best of the Valley”

Posted on : January 23, 2016, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Modifying Child Custody and Child Support Arizona

Modifying Child Custody and Support in Arizona

Court Must Address Child Support When Child Custody is Modified in Arizona

Modifying Child Custody and Support in Arizona.

Modifying Child Custody and Support in Arizona.

In Arizona, the decision of a judge to modify parenting time will often result in a modification of child support. In the case of Heidbreder v. Heidbreder, the Arizona Court of Appeals addressed whether the trial court erred when it modified child support despite neither party had requested a modification of child support. The court addressed modifying child custody and support in Arizona. The main issue was whether the trial court had done so deprived either party of constitutionally protected Due Process rights requiring adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard.   On June 29, 2010, Jodi and Gregg Heidbreder dissolved their marriage by a consent decree. Both agreed to share joint legal custody of the two minor children with Jodi (Mother) being the primary residential parent. Both also agreed that Gregg (Father) would pay $1,000 per month in child support to Mother.

These agreements were approved and incorporated into the final dissolution decree by the court.   On October 29, 2010, Mother filed a petition seeking to modify Father’s parenting time from unsupervised to supervised. She also filed to modify child custody (legal decision making) seeking sole legal custody of the children. The court consolidated both matters and held an evidentiary hearing. The court awarded Mother sole legal custody, ordered Father’s parenting time supervised and modified Father’s child support.   The court issued an order modifying child support from $1,000 per month to $500 per month retroactive to April 1, 2011. The mother quickly appealed, arguing the trial court erred when it modified the child support with a request for modification being filed by either party. She claims the court lacked the authority to make the change as both parties agreed to the amount in their property settlement agreement and neither parent requested a modification of child support.

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

The Arizona Court of Appeals determined the fact that the original child support amount was in the original agreement was immaterial to whether the trial court could modify child support. Mother also argued that the issue was not properly addressed before the trial court or mentioned in the pretrial statement. The Arizona Court of Appeals disagreed with that argument as well. Once the trial court modified legal decision making (child custody) and parenting time, it was required by law to address child support. The court’s authority to modify child support is not based on a petition, but on a “showing of changed circumstances that is substantial and continuing.”

Due Process Requires Notice to a Party When a Judge Modifies Child Support in Arizona

Although the court had the right to modify child support under Arizona state law Section 25-403.09, The Arizona Court of Appeals decided Mother was not provided adequate notice that child support would be an issue to be determined at the hearing. The court noted that neither party was “substantially prepared” to discuss child support at the hearing, but they continued without providing Mother time to prepare to present evidence regarding child support. A trial court errs if it modifies child support without a) conducting a hearing or b) allowing both parties time to gather and present evidence.

While the trial court did direct both parties to file financial affidavits after the hearing, that order did not provide both parties with a full opportunity to be meaningfully heard. Not only did the trial judge limit the scope of evidence Mother could present at trial on the issue, but it denied her the right to challenge the modification on legal grounds if she had any such legal grounds. In the case of Heidbreder v. Heidbreder, the Arizona Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the case back to the trial court to conduct a full evidentiary hearing on the issue.  The Heidbreder case stands for the principle that a trial judge must consider a modification of child support when there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, including a modification of parenting time.

Call (480)305-8300 to schedule a personalized consultation with one of the experienced child custody and child support attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC today!

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Google User
Google User
14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
A Google User
A Google User
16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
A Google User
A Google User
19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
Bassam Ziadeh
Bassam Ziadeh
21:20 02 Apr 18
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Larry Flint
Larry Flint
21:53 27 Feb 18
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13

Related Blogs – What’s Hot

Personal Injury Awards and Divorce in ArizonaCan a Judge Reject a Divorce Settlement in ArizonaContesting a Prenuptial Agreement in Arizona
Enforcing Prenuptial Agreements in ArizonaFailure to Disclose Financial Information in a Divorce in ArizonaUnauthorized Use of Power of Attorney to Dispose of a Spouse's Separate Property