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Modifying a child support order in Washington

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2022 | Family Law |

When couples with children divorce, the process of separation becomes significantly more complex.

When parents are not in agreement about support payments, they must follow the court-ordered agreements. However, situations can change, leading to modifications of child support.

When you can file for a modification of child support

When filing for a modification, the filing parent is responsible for providing evidence to support their reason for filing. Examples of accepted life changes include:

  • Decrease in income or job loss
  • A change in the child’s needs, such as medical care
  • One parent has a child with another spouse

The parent with primary custody may file for modification if the paying parent received a promotion with a substantial increase in income.

How to file for a modification

In Washington, you have two options when you decide to file for a modification of child support:

  1. Petition to modify: A common method of modifying child support is petitioning to modify after at least a year of the initial order.
  2. Motion for adjustment: The method is accessible no less than two years since the initial order, and it requires less time and paperwork.

Most people file a petition to modify under circumstances. For example, if the paying parent faces financial hardship or the child turns 18, you may file a petition. A motion for adjustment is mostly used when a child moves into a new age category, such as turning 12 years old.

In general, the court will not consider a modification less than a year from the date of the initial order without proof of a major economic change.