What Happens If You Can't Pay Child Support in Arizona? dorris law group tucson

Child support is money paid by one parent to another parent in order to help pay for a child’s living expenses, including medical expenses, after a divorce. This is an on-going payment and is usually paid monthly. This is usually required until the child is a certain age, such as 16 or 18. However, there may come a time when you can’t pay child support. So what happens then?

Dorris Law Group is a Tucson divorce attorney who helps clients with all matters regarding divorce and family law, including help with child support issues, alimony, the divorce proceedings itself, legal separation, property division, fathers’ rights, grandparents’ rights, and more. We have years of experience both in litigation and negotiation, and we work diligently to ensure you receive the most favorable outcome. Below, we’ll take a look at the steps to take if you can’t pay child support in the state of Arizona. Call our divorce lawyers for a free consultation today!


Is the change temporary?

If you have been furloughed, say by COVID-19, and you expect to get your job back fairly soon, you still must pay child support. Child support is on-going, so you must have a permanent change in order to modify it. According to Arizona law, child support and/or spousal maintenance (alimony) can only be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change in your income. If you are fired from a job, but you have the ability to obtain employment immediately afterwards, then you will still not be able to modify your child support.

Is the change long-term?

If you believe your employment situation has changed for the worse and it will be for the long-term, then you may petition the court to modify your child support agreement. These instances include such life alterations as you’ve been injured and now have a disability that prevents you from working and the like. Keep in mind that a modification to a child support agreement in the state of Arizona can be hard to have modified. You must have a very good reason in order to do so, and you must show proof of this to the court.

Take Action Immediately

If you do fall under the category of a long-term permanent change to your income, the divorce attorneys at Dorris Law Group in Tucson recommend that you take action immediately. You are financially obligated to pay child support until the end of the time period set in your divorce agreement. These child support payments that you are unable to pay (and subsequently do not pay) only add up. You will be required to make these payments until a modification has been formally established by the Arizona court. Not paying child support has severe consequences in the state of Arizona, including serving jail time.


No one wants to go through a divorce. It’s never a pleasant situation, but it is now a part of your life, and all you can do is make the best of it. This includes having an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse and doing your part to support your child(ren).

Dorris Law Group highly values our clients. We always put your best interests first in all of the matters pertaining to your case. If you are unable to pay child support for a reason you think is on-going, give our divorce lawyers in Tucson a call. We will sit down with you at a free consultation, go over your circumstances, and advise you if we think your petition to modify your child support agreement will be successful and qualifies in the eyes of a court as a permanent change to your employment situation. We understand that life is unpredictable, and a wrench can be thrown into your plans.

In addition, we offer representation in a wide variety of divorce areas, such as domestic violence, fathers’ rights, grandparents’ rights, paternity issues, child custody, alimony, and legal separation. We’re here to help you in all matters of divorce and family law. Give our experienced and compassionate divorce attorneys a call today!