The court recognizes that children grow and families and situations changes, and therefore the court retains jurisdiction over issues involving the children, and also over issues involving ongoing spousal maintenance (unless the parties sign an agreement that the spousal maintenance is not modifiable). The Supreme Court even recommends that the parties periodically evaluate the parenting plan and support to see if changes such as changes of residence, marital status, employment, child care or the child’s needs should dictate a change in the parenting time or support. Parents are encouraged to try to make a plan work for a while after it’s been put into effect so that there can be some level of stability in the kids’ lives. No plan is perfect and none can account for all possible situations that arise in the course of life, but the courts ask that people try to make their plans work before discarding them and running back to court for a change, for the kids’ sake. Therefore, the first modification to the parenting plan that can take place should not be any sooner than a year after the final decree, unless the failure to modify it sooner would put the child in serious danger. (A.R.S. 25-411)
Parents are allowed to demand that each other’s employers provide them with information about income and medical insurance plan availability for the purposes of determining child support worksheet issues and whether changes are advisable (A.R.S. 25-513). If changes to the situation are substantial and continuous (or if they result in a 15% or more difference in the bottom line child support amount due), either party may return to court to request a modification of support. (A.R.S. 25-503).